2013 NBA Free Agency: Free-Agent Power Rankings (1-5)

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1. Dwight Howard

Apr 28, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers center Dwight Howard (12) during the game against the San Antonio Spurs in game four of the first round of the 2013 NBA playoffs at the Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

Like it or not, Dwight Howard is the best center in the league when healthy.

Howard is a terrible free-throw shooter, but on a deeper level, questions about his locker room persona and ability to interact with teammates have been raised. The team that will eventually get him this season, be it the Los Angeles Lakers, the Houston Rockets or another, will have to contend with this issues.

Offensively, Howard has the second-highest field goal percentage for all active NBA players. He is an absolute monster in the post, and with a freakishly athletic body, he can score in bunches on the block. He can also out-hustle other centers and post up smaller power forwards.

Obviously, Howard’s free throw percentage is his most glaring weakness. Like another former Orlando Magic center (Shaquille O’Neal), Howard struggles from the charity stripe, shooting just 49.2 from the free-throw line this season. He is one of those rare players who shoots better from the field than they do from the line. If he can iron out some of his free throw inconsistencies, he can truly become an incredible all-around center.

Defensively, the prep-to-pro player is at his most comfortable. The three-time Defensive Player of the Year averaged 2.4 blocks per game this year but has averaged as much as 2.9 in his career. He has lost some of his explosiveness since his back surgery, but he has displayed that he can return back to pre-surgery form.

Howard’s most impressive performance came when Los Angeles Lakers’ star Kobe Bryant was missing. Howard averaged 21 points, 17.5 rebounds and one assist with 2.5 steals and 3.5 blocks in his last two games of the season where Bryant was missing.

Howard is a franchise big man for any team willing to gamble on his health and personality. Obviously, he has proven himself both offensively and defensively, and his last two games of the regular season show just how good he can be. Of all the numbers that should interest teams, Howard’s age (27) should be the most exciting. He still has arguably 10 years of great play if he stays healthy. If Howard takes a liking to his team, works on his free throws and develops some post-game outside of pure athletic ability, he will become an unstoppable force for many years to come.