Sometimes You Just Need to Change It Up: Dwight Howard and the Charlotte Hornets

The Charlotte Hornets of the NBA have been stuck in mediocre purgatory for the last few years. They have been on the brink of the playoffs, but never quite over the edge. The team is not bad enough to get a top-three draft pick, but not good enough to compete for a championship, either. It’s a rough spot.

How are the Hornets going to get out of the hole they’re in? They can’t attract top free agents, because Charlotte, North Carolina is not a big market, like New York or Los Angeles is, and, despite the presence of Kemba Walker and other decent players, they don’t have the kind of talent that attracts more talent.

The Hornets have to get creative.

And the team did just that recently, when they acquired Dwight Howard in a trade from the Atlanta Hawks. Howard himself was kind of stuck in the middle, too. This guy was a top five player a few years ago, an NBA Finalist, an MVP runner-up, a three-time defensive player of the year award winner, and an eight-time all-star, but something about playing for the Hawks didn’t work for him. His performance has fallen off, especially this past year, and most teams didn’t want him. But while he’s not the superstar he was in Orlando, he still averages a career double-double. Call me crazy, but I think Dwight Howard is actually underrated.

Howard represents a way out of the hole for the Hornets. He’s a talented player who is not perceived as such right now, so he was available to them when other players of his caliber weren’t. That’s why trading for him was such a brilliant move. The hope is that the change of scenery will be enough to help him recapture at least some of his former glory while leading his new team to success.

Sometimes that’s all players need to succeed, a scenery change. Nobody plays in a vacuum, and sometimes new leadership, a new organization, or a different team culture can bring out the best in someone. It’s hard to know until you try it.

The Hornets needed to change something because they couldn’t stay where they were. Likewise, Howard needed to change something. The changes they made seem sensible and look like they’ll be mutually beneficial, but the most important thing might simply be that they’re trying something.

Sometimes, that’s what you need to do—change something. If your business is struggling with clearly identifiable challenges, then yes, of course you should deal with those problems. But sometimes the solution isn’t clear. The problem might not be clear, either. Maybe you’re just stuck in the middle of something. In such cases, the simple act of changing something might be all you need to get back on track.

Whether you alter something within your organization, hire someone new, or even starting over at a new company, changing it up a bit can create new opportunities, new synergies, or even just spark some new and needed motivation.

We’ll see what the change of scenery does for Dwight Howard and the Charlotte Hornets.


Image of Marcin Gortat and Dwight Howard was taken by Keith Allison under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic license