When the Philadelphia 76ers inked veteran center Dwight Howard to a one-year contract in the offseason, the move was met with rave reviews. Not only were the Sixers getting a solid backup for Joel Embiid, but the 76ers were also getting a seasoned leader and an NBA champion.
While the Dwight Howard experience in Philly has gone swimmingly for the most part, the veteran center does have a noticeable flaw. Sixers head coach Doc Rivers pointed it out before Monday night's game against the Oklahoma City Thunder when asked if Howard has done anything that the Sixers didn't think they'd get out of him.
"Yeah, he has 15 techs," Rivers joked. "I didn't know he was going to have that at this point," he said while laughing. 61 games into the 2020-2021 NBA season, Dwight Howard leads the NBA in technical fouls received.
Considering he's been punished for his on-court actions more than anybody this season, Howard and his head coach believe that he has a target on his back nightly. "I do feel like I'm being targeted," Howard said on Monday. "Tonight was a night where I actually wasn't targeted, so I feel good. I changed colognes. That pretty much helped tonight. But I have felt like I've been targeted, but I'm just going to continue to play as hard as I can."
The veteran center has received criticism throughout the year as he's been viewed as irresponsible to some for the number of technical fouls he was issued this season, but Howard wanted to make it clear that he's playing with his team's best interest in mind. While he may get frustrated at times in the process, landing himself in some trouble, Howard hopes to make amends with league officials.
"If there is any refs listening, I love you," Howard said apologetically. "I apologize for whatever it was. Let's hug, let's meditate -- let's bend our knees together." Will Howard's apology help him out? That remains to be seen. Regardless, the veteran center knows he needs to be smarter moving forward -- especially when playoff time rolls around, and mistakes can not be afforded.