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How well did Dwight Howard play on his debut for the Taoyuan Leopards in Taiwan’s T1 League?

If the former NBA champion was trying to say that he still belongs in the NBA, there was probably no better way to make that statement.

How well did Dwight Howard play on his debut for the Taoyuan Leopards in Taiwan’s T1 League?
Sam SharpeUSA TODAY Sports

Following his surprise move to the Taiwanese professional basketball league, the former Lakers big man had an unreal debut. One has to wonder whether or not his departure from the NBA was premature.

Dwight Howard’s debut in Taiwan’s T1 League was sensational.

If you were wondering, how eight-time NBA All-Star Dwight Howard’s debut went in Taiwan’s T1 League on Saturday, then let us be the first to tell you, Howard made a statement. Along with a more than impressive 38 points, the former NBA champion posted an incredible 25 rebounds, to go with nine assists and four blocks. With that said, the game was still rather close with Howard’s Taoyuan Leopards defeating the New Taipei CTBC DEA by a score of 120–115. We should also mention, that during the night on which he shot 14-for-32 Howard actually attempted 10 3-pointers of which he sank two.

Now, we understand that you might be thinking that the T1 League is not the NBA and as such Howard’s performance should be taken with a grain of salt, but the 6-foot-10 center showed a surprising degree of versatility on the night as well. Along with his aforementioned attempts from beyond the arc, Howard was essentially the Leopard’s’ ball handler for the night and utilized the pick-and-roll on several occasions, while dishing the ball around like a seasoned point guard. Ultimately, the former No. 1 overall pick was central in helping Taoyuan to overturn a double-digit deficit early in the fourth quarter before closing out the game.

Looking back to see the present: Dwight Howard dreams of an NBA return

Across his career 18-year NBA career, Howard has worn the jersey of seven different teams including the Lakers for whom he last played and actually won a championship with in 2020. After failing to agree to a renewal with LA, the three-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year decided to take his talents abroad and as such announced in earlier this month that he would be joining the Leopards. “I have always loved the energy I felt visiting Taiwan as you can see, I still have posters hanging up on my walls from my first 2 times visiting!” at the time. “I’m ready to enjoy life by playing the sport I love in front of a bunch of people that love me & for my people in Taiwan have your posters ready to welcome yours truly.”

Interestingly, Howard didn’t close the door on a return to the NBA. He recently told Fox Sports’ Shannon Sharpe that he’d like to join the Golden State Warriors, saying he could see himself setting screens for Stephen Curry while mentoring former No. 2 overall pick James Wiseman. “I would love to play season 19 and go out on top,” Howard said. “I would definitely love to do that. That would be amazing — and get a parade like I deserve.” Though we’re not sure if Howard’s dream will come true, if he can continue to play the way he did on his debut, it certainly won’t hurt his chances.