Dallas Mavericks

Rick Mahorn believes Dwight Howard could take a lot of pressure off Dirk Nowitzki

AP

Last week it was veteran guard Jason Terry who proclaimed that if the Dallas Mavericks can add free-agent-to-be center Dwight Howard to their roster, it would put them right back in the NBA championship picture.

Now, former NBA player Rick Mahorn has jumped on board and added another wrinkle to the Howard-to-the-Mavericks equation.

An analyst on the Detroit Pistons’ radio broadcast, Mahorn acknowledged that forward Dirk Nowitzki remains an efficient player for the Mavericks, who still often commands double-teams. The addition of Howard, according to Mahorn, would free Nowitzki from the problems of having to see defenses stacked against him on a regular basis.

"Having Dwight takes a lot of weight off Dirk because now you’ve got to worry about Dwight being inside, and you can’t go double-team Dirk,’’ Mahorn said on Wednesday. "It gives you another facet.’’

From Mahorn’s vantage point, with defenses swarming Howard inside, the Mavericks’ perimeter shooter will basically enjoy a steady diet of target practice.

"If you’ve got good shooters around Dwight it opens up the court, whereas all the concentration before was on Dirk,’’ Mahorn said. "And while everybody is worried about Dirk, Dwight’s a well enough passer to get the ball out of double teams.’’

Mahorn, a very physical power forward who won an NBA title with the Pistons in 1989, wonders if Howard would be satisfied in a Mavericks’ uniform if the offense isn’t centered around him.

"Instead of being first-fiddle, he has to be comfortable being second- or even third-fiddle on that team,’’ Mahorn said. "But he’ll understand his role with (coach) Rick Carlisle.’’

Alas, the Mavericks will likely center their offense around Howard – if they can land the 6-foot-11 mobile pivotman.

"That’s precisely what they were going to do last summer during free agency before center DeAndre Jordan reneged on a verbal commitment to the Mavericks, and instead decided to return and play for the Los Angeles Clippers.

Still, the debate continues on if a Howard-Mavericks marriage can turn Terry into a prophet.

"Could it propel them back into the NBA Finals?,’’ Mahorn asked. "You’ve got other teams you’ve got to worry about.

"And you’ve got to deal with the hack-a-Howard. But he has to be able to be comfortable.’’

Howard has yet to decide if he will opt-out of the final year of his contract with the Houston Rockets and become a free agent on July 1.

2016 NBA Draft Order

June 23

Barclays Center, Brooklyn, N.Y.

June 23

FIRST ROUND

1. Philadelphia

2. LA Lakers

3. Boston (from Brooklyn)

4. Phoenix

5. Minnesota

6. New Orleans

7. Denver (from New York)

8. Sacramento

9. Toronto (from Denver via New York)

10. Milwaukee

11. Orlando

12. Utah

13. Phoenix (from Washington)

14. Chicago

15. Denver (from Houston)

16. Boston (from Dallas)

17. Memphis

18. Detroit

19. Denver (from Portland)

20. Indiana

21. Atlanta

22. Charlotte

23. Boston

24. Philadelphia (from Miami via Cleveland)

25. LA Clippers

26. Philadelphia (from Okla. City via Denver and Cleveland)

27. Toronto

28. Phoenix (From Cleveland via Boston)

29. San Antonio

30. Golden State

SECOND ROUND

31. Boston (from Philadelphia via Miami)

32. LA Lakers

33. LA CLippers (From Brooklyn)

34. Phoenix

35. Boston (from Minnesota via Phoenix)

36. Milwaukee (from New Orl. via Sac.)

37. Houston (from NY via Sac and Por)

38. Milwaukee

39. New Orleans (Denver via Philadelphia)

40. New Orleans (from Sacramento)

41. Orlando

42. Utah

43. Houston

44. Atlanta (from Washington)

45. Boston (from Memphis via Dallas)

46. Dallas

47. Orlando (from Chicago)

48. Chicago (from Portland via Cleveland)

49. Detroit

50. Indiana

51. Boston (from Miami)

52. Utah (from Boston via Memphis)

53. Denver (from Charlotte via Okla. City)

54. Atlanta

55. Brooklyn (from LA Clippers)

56. Denver (from Oklahoma City)

57. Memphis (from Toronto)

58. Boston (from Cleveland)

59. Sacramento (from San Antonio)

60. Utah (from Golden State)

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