Orlando Magic’s Dwight Howard having MVP season

interns Contributor

Unless — knock on wood — he is felled by a catastrophic injury, Dwight Howard is destined to join basketball’s hall of fame.

“He’s a sure-fire hall of famer” if he remains on course, agrees Magic coach Stan Van Gundy of his 24-year-old center.

Oddly, 16 games into Dwight’s seventh season, that heady forecast is more sure-fire than Howard ever being awarded MVP.

I believe Howard is off to his best-ever start in the race, even though he shrugs, “I don’t care about individual stats.”

His offense is finally catching up with his devastating defense. He’s showing a more complete, mature game — except at the free-throw line, of course.

“I don’t think there’s anybody in the NBA playing better basketball than he is,” Van Gundy said.

Van Gundy concedes he’s biased, but I think he’s correct.

There’s little doubt that Howard has been the beast of the East after a month of play.

As of Monday, Howard, the reigning two-time Defensive Player of the Year, was in the top 5 in rebounding and blocks.

Scoring weighs heavily in MVP voting, as overrated as it is. “Voters don’t look at Dwight’s affect on the game as a whole. It’s not sexy,” General Manager Otis Smith said. “Scoring 30 points a night is sexy.”

Howard is trying to sex it up with his offensive expansion. He’s risen to No. 12 in scoring — a high-water mark for him if the season ended today — at a career-best 22.6 points per game.

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