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Many consider Nikola Jokic to be the best player in the NBA, while the vast majority of folks would agree he’s the best big man in the league. Those two things were never said about Dwight Howard at any point during his career, but don’t try to tell him that.
Howard recently joined FanDuel TV to discuss Jokic ahead of the Denver Nuggets’ appearance in the NBA Finals. Howard was asked by Chandler Parson who he would take, prime Howard or prime Jokic, and without hesitation he picked himself.
“Prime Dwight Howard all day. All day, every day,” Howard said, while everyone on the set started laughing. “I’m dominating every play with a smile on my face.”
While Howard was a dominant force down low, especially during his prime, it’s tough to put him on the same stage as Jokic who can play any position on the floor.
If you’re talking prime Howard, you have to look at the seasons between 2007-2010. In those three seasons he led the league in total rebounds and in two of the three years he led the NBA in blocked shots.
When it comes to scoring, however, Howard doesn’t compare to Jokic. Howard’s best scoring year came during the 2010-11 campaign when he averaged 22.9 points per game. Jokic has averaged over 24 points per game in each of the last three seasons, including a career-best 27.1 points per contest last season.
While Jokic has plenty of basketball ahead of him and his numbers will likely drop over the course of his career, right now he’s averaged 20.2 points, 10.5 rebounds, and 6.6 assists per game. Howard’s numbers don’t pop off the page as much with his 15.7 points, 11.8 rebounds, and 1.3 assists.
Was prime Howard a better board-snatcher than Jokic? Sure. But a better overall player? No, it’s tough to make that argument.