Dwight Howard is widely regarded as the best center in the NBA.
However, one of the greatest centers of all-time disagrees with that notion.
Shaquille O’Neal recently stated that he felt that a couple of other big men in the league are better than the Lakers newest star. The TNT analyst claimed that both Andrew Bynum and Brook Lopez are better at the position.
Howard didn’t take kindly to the comments and fired back at O’Neal.
"I don't care what Shaq says," Howard told reporters. "Shaq played the game. He's done. He's gone. It's time to move on."
Are Bynum and Lopez actually better than Howard?
It’s hard to justify O’Neal’s statement that he would take Lopez over Howard.
The Nets seven-footer only played five games in the 2011-12 season due to injuries, and has never put up the same kind of numbers as Howard. Two years ago, Lopez averaged 20.4 points and 5.9 rebounds per contest. His scoring average is comparable to Howard’s, but his defensive and rebounding numbers aren’t close. Howard has averaged more than 13 rebounds and two blocks per game in each of the last five seasons.
Not only are Howard’s numbers much better, but his teams have been more successful. Since being drafted in 2008, Lopez has yet to play on a winning team. Howard led the Magic to the playoffs six times in a row, including a trip to the Finals in 2009.
A better case can be made for Bynum over Howard. Los Angeles dealt him to Philadelphia in the trade that netted them Howard this summer.
Bynum had a breakout season last year, averaging career highs with 18.7 points and 11.8 rebounds per game. He’s two years younger than his counterpart and has a chance to improve even further.
Kobe Bryant was the Lakers best player during Bynum’s entire tenure with the team. Nevertheless, he was more successful in the playoffs than Howard. He helped Los Angeles defeat Orlando in the Finals, and won another title the following year.
O’Neal said Bynum’s style of play makes him a better center than Howard.
“What we have now are centers that are going to the European style, which is a lot of pick-and-roll,” said O’Neal. Bynum has more of an inside game, which is more like the centers of O’Neal’s era.
Despite his win-loss record and style of play, Bynum has yet to prove to most people that he’s the best center in the league. With the 76ers, he’ll have a lot more responsibility, like Howard did with Orlando.
If Howard can’t win a championship with L.A., more people may start to agree with O’Neal. He’s been named to the All-NBA First Team for five straight seasons, and finally has enough talent around him to win a title.
Howard and O’Neal have engaged in a feud for a few years. The former NBA star accused the current Lakers big man of stealing his “Superman” nickname.
Now, Howard will try to bring a championship to Los Angeles, something that O’Neal did three times.