"To be honest, he looks more athletic to me now," Ariza told Yahoo Sports. "He's always been big and strong, but he seems stronger to me, looks like he's jumping higher than he did."
Ariza played parts of three seasons with the Magic, from 2006 to 2007, during the early stages of Howard's career.
Howard, 28, signed with the Rockets prior to last season, after one season with the Lakers. He has dealt with injuries in recent years, including a herniated disk in his back which required surgery after the 2011-12 season and a torn labrum in his shoulder during the 2012-13 season.
- Dan Gartland