NBA Draft Profile: Dwight Howard

In the days leading up to the June 24 NBA Draft, has been giving you the scouting report on all the high school players with a shot to be selected in the first round of this year's draft. Today, we conclude our series with a profile of <b>Southwest Atlanta Christian Academy (Ga.)</b> power forward <b>Dwight Howard</b>. Check back on Wednesday for our 2004 mock draft.

Dwight Howard
Southwest Atlanta Christian Academy (Ga.)
Power Forward, 6-11, 243

Strengths: How much time do you have? Seriously, though, Howard has almost too many strengths to mention. He's a beast in the paint offensively, using exceptional footwork and quickness to perform a stunning array of post moves and finish with both hands. But he's also an excellent passer and capable ball-handler who can step away from the basket and knock down jumpers. In addition, he runs the floor, blocks shots and rebounds as well as any big man in the draft, including Emeka Okafor. Although he's probably headed for a career at power forward in the pros, Howard's versatility, size and athleticism could allow him to play center or even small forward down the line. And if all that isn't enough, he's also extremely mature and is a hard worker.

Weaknesses: There aren't many. Some critics fear he lacks passion and might be more Kwame Brown than Kevin Garnett. Aside from that, his biggest weaknesses are lack of experience and strength, which can be said of all players who come straight out of high school. He'll obviously have to adjust to the physical nature of the NBA, and it remains to be seen whether he can continue to dominate against players who are all his size or bigger. Essentially, Howard's main weakness is that he's not as proven a commodity against big-time competition as Okafor.

The Lowdown: The No. 1 pick will come down to Okafor and Howard, and it appears Okafor has the edge at this point. Okafor is definitely a more proven player who can contribute right away, but Howard has a much bigger upside because of his versatile skills. Because of that, don't expect to see Howard's name on the board past the No. 2 pick. In our opinion, Howard has the best chance of anyone in this draft to be a superstar down the line. He's certainly not a sure thing, but he's the horse we'd bet on.

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