Do you have the NBA Lockout blues? We feel your pain and have a cure for you. The Hoops Manifesto has gathered together Bloguin’s best basketball writers for a new feature called: The Jump Ball. We toss two current NBA players into the air and ask the simple (yet complex) question: which of the two players would you choose to play for your fictional team next season. You only have this player for one season and one season only. So, who ya got: Dwight Howard or Dirk Nowitzki?
Consensus: Dirk Nowitzki
“This should be an easy pick, right? You go with the monster defender (with an expanding offensive repertoire) who is still young and in his prime. That was my initial reaction to the Dwight vs Dirk debate. But giving it more thought, I’m taking Dirk Nowitzki here. His ability to lead a group of role players to the NBA title – dispatching Kobe’s Lakers and LeBron’s Heat in the process – is something that Dwight hasn’t been able to accomplish just yet. And despite his age, Dirk hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down as of yet.” - Jeff Fox
“Give me Howard without a doubt in my mind. Total beast!” - College Wolf
“I gotta roll with Dirk. I mean, he was the Finals MVP, and he would’ve been the Playoff MVP. He put his team on his back to defeat the Miami cHeat. He is 7 feet tall and one of the best shooters in the game. And he can get his shot off anytime, anywhere, due to his savvy fadeaway moves. He is the type of player that offensively can carry his team on his back. I can’t say the same for D-Ho. Also, I question D12’s commitment to the game a little bit. I don’t think he is the type of guy that wants to win at all costs and carries the deepest passion for the game. I do believe these things about Dirk, and he proved it. Obviously a lot of this debate has to do with what you value most on your team, and my answer could change based on who else is on the team and surrounding each of these players. But starting from scratch, I am taking the NBA’s reigning playoff MVP. He’s still in his prime, and with more confidence and swagger than ever. He’s a grounded, dedicated guy and teammate. He’s the champ.” – BonK
“Since this is a one-year shot at the title, I will have to go with Dirk Nowitzki. Even without his ring, he has shown more grit, more willingness to step up his game on both ends of the floor and really has become one of the best clutch player in the game today the past couple of seasons. Dwight Howard is generally a beast in the paint, but he does tend to stand down when the opposition gets tougher and the pressure is at an all-time high in the playoffs. His lack of offense isn’t helping him much, either.” – Ezra
“Again, an easy one. Up until a few short months ago, Dirk Nowitzki was seen as a perennial choke artist. Someone who whilst being immensely skilled, probably couldn’t win a title as a #1. Questions were raised as to whether he was more mentally suited to be playing alongside a “better” player. Well, whilst he kinda shot that one down – a lot of the same things still exist. It’ll all come down to which is the anomaly: the seasons of somewhat underachieving, or the single postseason of excellence. Thus… gimme Dwight. Dwight Howard is a true anchor, in a time where such are the rarest commodity in all basketball. He’s a beast at both ends of the floor, giving a team a phenomenal focal point on offense, and a veritable wall on D. And the crazy thing? Guy hasn’t hit his peak yet.” – Don
“Two very different players, but both with enormous up-sides. Dirk’s age and Dwight’s potential initially sent me one way, Dirk’s ability to consistently lift for the playoffs sent me the other. Dwight had a monster playoff run last season, but when you compare the numbers, so did Dirk – and he got the ring to go with it. One season – this season – I’m still taking Dirk. (But if you tell me I have to take Dwight I won’t be too unhappy!).” – brumbygg