Dwight Howard is crazy for saying Rockets can win 2016 title

Dwight Howard has said he thinks the Houston Rockets can be NBA champions this season, but how on earth could that be possible?

When we think about who could be crowned as 2016 NBA champions, there are essentially two teams that spring to mind. Whether the Golden State Warriors break the regular-season record with 73 wins and proceed to defend their title or the San Antonio Spurs take them down in the Western Conference Finals, it’s the two historically dominant teams in the West that are clear favorites.

Dwight Howard believes his Houston Rockets can change that.

Even in comparison to the top two teams in the East, the Toronto Raptors and Cleveland Cavaliers, it’s still easy to favor the Warriors and Spurs. So to think that a team like the Rockets, who are struggling to hang onto the 7th seed at 35-35, could surpass them to be champions is absurd.

That’s what any right-minded person would think, but Howard is mad enough and optimistic enough to say otherwise (per Sam Amick of USA Today Sports):

Regardless of how our season is going so far, regardless of the fact that we haven’t played up to our expectations, I really believe that we have a championship caliber team. Nobody else has to believe it, and that’s fine. The whole world can be against us. But if those 15 guys in the locker room believe that we can win, then we will win. There’s no doubt about it. We had a great season last year, and the reason why we were able to come in the playoffs and do what we did is because we believed.

Of course, almost any player is going to say that their team is good enough to win a championship. Unless you’re in rebuild mode or unable to make the playoffs, you need to emit the confidence that your team has the potential to go all the way. Even if you know deep down that what you’re saying is absurd, you need to show confidence for your teammates and your fans.

Yet for Howard to say so emphatically that his team is of a championship caliber and that “belief” will take them through the playoffs is hard for anyone to accept as a sane statement.

Howard also said that he has no hate for his All-Star teammate James Harden, despite what rumors and their lacking chemistry on the court suggests:

People feel … like we hate each other. I have no hate in my blood for this man, you know? For what?

Before even looking at second tier contenders like the Los Angeles Clippers and Oklahoma City Thunder, how could Howard think his Rockets are capable of overcoming the Warriors or Spurs in the playoffs? They’re the only two teams to rank in the top four for both offensive and defensive efficiency, with the Warriors having unprecedented versatility and scoring on their side while the Spurs have countless experience, depth, and a rising superstar in Kawhi Leonard.

On top of all of that, they both have the kind of chemistry that enables them to form a tight-knit unit and excel in so many areas of the game because of it, which is an underlying attribute that the Rockets simply do not have.

Plus, the 2015-16 Warriors and Spurs will be considered as two of the best teams of all time in terms of wins. That sort of leaves a team struggling to even make the playoffs like Houston in a different league altogether.

It’s not even necessary to go deep into the numbers in this instance. There are so many reasons why the Rockets are a .500 team. Harden’s need to do too much offensively and wavering efficiency, not to mention his Shaqtin’ a Fool-level defense, isn’t a consistent recipe for success. In the playoffs, that will be more obvious than ever. And there’s no total guarantee the Rockets will even make the playoffs this season anyway.

When it comes to defense, it’s no surprise that their lack of cohesion and effort has them ranked just 23rd in efficiency.

Sorry, Dwight Howard, your team won’t be NBA champions. Not this season or any season in the near future.