Josh Howard's New Year's Resolution
by Mike Fisher    Thu, Jan 1, 2009, 08:03 PM

Were Josh Howard’s much-discussed 2008 troubles the fault of Josh Howard? Or were they the fault of the “discussers’’ and a result of the “much-discussion’’? Should we consider a New Year’s resolution to go a little easier on our erstwhile All-Star, whose half-kidding resolution is to “avoid the media’’?


    One person I’m going to cut some slack on for sure is Star-Telegram beat writer Jeff Caplan. Because Jeff is a good guy and heck, there is nothing wrong with beginning the New Year with a sunny outlook on J-Ho. But boy, does Jeff allow Josh a tremendous amount of latitude in this solid story of how Howard is attempting to keep a lower profile.

   Writes Caplan:

  Asked for his New Year’s resolution, Howard said, "Don’t repeat 2008."

  Asked how he plans to accomplish that, he said, sounding slightly amused, "Avoiding the media."

   Cute. But let me tell you how I read it (and I wish I’d been there to read between the lines in person, so my apologies for that): Just when Josh tiptoed toward a responsibility-taking sentiment (I don’t want to repeat 2008, emphasis on the “I’’) he followed up with a suggestion – an only slightly amused one – of the donkey that really deserves to be pinned.

    Damn media. Media finding out about the birthday party and the pot-smoking and the drag-racing and the Anthem-bashing.

    Writes Caplan:

    Howard is clearly jaded and wary of an instantaneous, 24-hour media machine after a harsh summer of negativity brought about by his own missteps.

   To Caplan’s credit, he includes the “missteps’’ part. So Jeff gets it. And – though Josh himself may not understand it – the rest of the local media that covers Howard’s Mavs, they get it, too.

   Dear Josh: NONE of us are “against you’’ or “out to get you.’’ Some of us are against birthday parties and pot-smoking and drag-racing and Anthem-bashing, is all.

    I can offer up endless examples of how those of us who cover the Mavs have allowed some flowers to grow among the weeds.

   *Check out’s hopeful celebration of Josh’s autumn/fall fathering of two babies by two different women. I threw a couple punch lines in there, of course, but even those were well-wishing and congratulatory.

   In getting to the bottom of a still much-underpublicized story, I wrote on Nov. 14:

    I guess Josh doesn’t need Judge Judy to ask him why he’s not married and he doesn’t need Maury Povich to drag him on stage and he doesn’t need the morality police using a battering ram on his front door.

   So, congratulations to Josh Howard and his family. .. er, families.

   Latitude given.   

    *Check out MavsMoneyball’s analysis of Josh’s scoring when Dirk is absent. It would’ve been easy to suggest something negative here; Moneyball resists the temptation.

   “What does it all mean?’’ Wes Cox asks. “I’m not sure. …’’

    Josh, you are aware, aren’t you, of the things a blogging Mavs fan could’ve written? That, for instance, the reason you bust out when Dirk’s not around is because you sulk and “hunt for shots’’ when he is? It so happens that I recently used the “hunt for shots’’ phrase on J-Ho. But Moneyball didn’t. They resisted the temptation to make a joke, to take a shot, to even issue a negative judgment.

    Latitude given.

    *Check out a typical Eddie Sefko entry on the DMNews’ blog:

   Josh Howard has 10 points in the first seven minutes. That's the good news. The bad news is that he has taken eight shots already to get those 10 points. For comparison, Dirk Nowitzki has taken two shots. You have to hope that equalizes a bit over the rest of the game.

     Yessssss, you have to hope that equalizes.

    Latitude given.

    *And, obviously, check out Caplan’s story. It’s pretty happy-happy-joy-joy in tone regarding a player who seems in denial (or at least seems too defensive) while insisting that his level of “excite(ment)’’ has been the same all season long, that “I’m still bringing the same intensity and energy.’’

   No, Josh. That is simply not true. That claim does not pass any statistical measure and it certainly does not pass the Eye Test of anyone who is even slightly more than a casual observer of the Mavs. And it certainly doesn’t work with those of us who have watched virtually every professional game you’ve ever played, and approximately half of those games in person. The last two games register as major upticks, with a total of 52 points and almost as many relaxed smiles. And we'll all continue to smile along with you if on Friday night you and the Mavs have as much fun taking care of the visiting Sixers.

    But otherwise? Latitude given.

   It would be a shame if Josh Howard made it sound as if “avoiding the media’’ is a solution to his problems because of a simmering distrust of a collection of people who, on the whole, like the guy and wish him no ill. But it would be even worse if he believes that and therefore also believes that he really didn’t really have any behavioral problems because it was all the fault of the “instantaneous 24-media machine.’’

   I guess I’m going to go with Caplan here, and offer up the latitude. More latitude for everybody, on me! Let’s drink to it, and that can be one of my New Year’s resolutions.

   I hope Josh Howard keeps his.

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written by Jonathan Green , January 02, 2009

What Josh would really like to say is, yall can kiss my b@#$k a#@!! Now Have A Happy New Years!!!!

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