Friday, September 18, 2009
Hello Juwan Howard
There isn’t a whole lot that Juwan Howard hasn’t experiences in 15 NBA seasons. He’s played in 1042 regular season games, 23 playoff games. He’s been to an All-Star game. He was locked out during the 1998-99 season. He’s played for six different teams. He was on an episode of The West Wing. He’s signed huge contracts. But until yesterday afternoon, Howard had never been introduced to the media on a dock on the banks of the Willamette River. It was an indication to the newest Trail Blazer that we tend to do things a little different here in Portland.
While our introductions might be a bit nontraditional, our expectations of what a veteran like Howard should bring to the team are not. He’s here to provide experience, toughness, a stabilizing presence on the court and in the locker room. He’s here to do whatever he can to help a talent-laden team take the next step.
"I hope I can have a huge impact in the locker room.” said Howard. “But not only that, I also will hopefully have an impact and presence on the court, as well. I feel I can help this team on the court with my veteran (ability) and experience. I've played in over 1000 games. I've played in a lot of playoff games. That being said, I've been around, I know how to play the game, I still have a lot left in the tank. I feel I can help this team in so many ways”
That’s good to hear, but if all Howard can do is rebound, play solid defense and hit the open shot every now and then, that will be enough. The Trail Blazers as currently constructed don’t need much, just a savvy player with experience who can mix it up when need be.
“I haven't had a chance to spend a lot of time with (the current Trail Blazers),” said Howard, “but just from outside looking in and what I've heard from a lot of people, you have good-character guys. I'm looking forward to it, taking on that leadership role, being that veteran that you need on your ball club."
Bringing in Howard, along with Andre Miller, gives the Trail Blazers the veteran savvy many thought they lacked last season. And with Howard, the Trail Blazers shore up the backup power forward position, allowing Travis Outlaw to move back out to the wing.
“"I'm definitely going to be one of the power forwards that backs up LaMarcus and gives him some minutes where he can catch a breather,” said Howard when asked about his role. “But be able to help the second unit out with some experience.”