When recent Los Angeles Lakers reserve center Dwight Howard announced his decision to continue his pro career overseas for Taiwan’s Taoyuan Leopards, it appeared he would be well on his way to enjoying the kind of late-career performative boost NBA All-Stars frequently get in international markets.
The early returns were impressive: in his first game, the future Hall of Famer and 2020 champ scored a whopping 38 points, pulled down 25 rebounds, dished out nine dimes, and made four blocks.
Lately, it seems the eight-time All-Star and three-time Defensive Player Of The Year has run into a few hiccups in his new basketball home.
Howard got into it with 7’5” Tainan TSG Ghosthawks center Sim Bhullar, who gave him all kinds of guff in the post. Howard’s Leopards actually fell to Bhullar’s Ghosthawks, 87-78.
Bhullar managed to make the 6’10”, 265-pound Howard look like Nate Robinson on the block.
“For me, I really don’t care who I play against,” the 30-year-old commented after his team nabbed the W. “It is what it is, which is basketball. I never back down from anybody on the court . It’s just another matchup for me.”
So who is Simu Bhullar? Technically he, too, is an NBA alum, albeit in a far more finite capacity. Following a two-season collegiate career at New Mexico State, Bhullar declared for the NBA draft in 2014. He was not selected in either round, and spent most of his time stateside playing in the NBA G League, with the Reno Bighorns and Raptors 905 Across his three NBA appearances for the Sacramento Kings in 2015, he averaged just one minute a night.
Although Howard’s numbers internationally have been generally solid, the 37-year-old has already struggled through some health issues. He recently returned to the court after missing two weeks of game action with a knee injury.
In their recent bout, Howard notched 21 points and 13 boards, while Bhullar scored 17 points and grabbed eight rebounds.