Connect with us


Dwight Howard In Taiwan

Patrick Yen / Back Sports Page

I had the pleasure of watching Dwight Howard and his Taoyuan Leopards play in person, and it was quite the experience. The Leopards (4-12) fell to the New Taipei CTBC DEA (14-4) in a close game 102-95. DEA are in first and the Leopards are in last place, so perhaps it wasn’t a surprising result, but it was a good game with a little bit of everything.


Howard’s Performance 

Patrick Yen / Back Sports Page

Howard was actually exerting a fair amount of effort which came as a pleasant surprise to this writer. You could forgive him for not really giving it his all considering Howard’s age. That wasn’t really the case however.

Howard was working hard on offense, crashing into double teams, contesting rebounds and doing his best to carry his team. Howard finished with 36 points, 17 boards and four assists. The eight-time NBA All-Star was allowed to expand his game a bit too, going 2-for-3 from three-point land and ran the point on a few occasions.

DEA’s strategy was to throw big bodies at him in the first half then send a double to try to poke the ball away when he brought it down for a post-up. That strategy worked sufficiently to prevent Howard from scoring from the field.

The center is really too big and strong for this league though, putting both his primary defender and the double into foul trouble early. That allowed the floor to open up significantly in the second half, allowing for Howard to consistently put the ball in the basket. Howard also made them pay for fouling him so much, going 10/13 from the charity stripe. 

Howard’s effort on defense was not quite the same level. That is not surprising or a sign of any laziness on his part considering his age and skillset. Howard’s presence alone really made going inside a questionable proposition and still ended up with four blocks. The defensive shortcomings of the team weren’t all on him, that’s for sure.



Patrick Yen / Back Sports Page

The level of basketball wasn’t particularly elite, to be frank. The scant talent pool in Taiwan is further diluted by the fact that there are surprisingly two separate professional leagues in the tiny island nation. The basketball was still entertaining though and a couple of the players could still fly or put on a show.

One such player was the DEA’s Hsieh Ya-Hsuan. The Leopard’s had an extremely questionable zone defense scheme that the players did not seem to know how to run, with miscommunication on open cutters and shooters all around. Ya-Hsuan benefitted from that the confusion the most, going 10/22 from three on his way to 34 points. Nick King of DEA, who played for Middle Tennessee State, dropped in 27 points for the team as well.

Wei-Han Lin of DEA was an impressive point guard. Lin dished out fifteen assists and made some real highlight passes, generally handling the ball well.


Patrick Yen / Back Sports Page

Howard’s small amount of help came from two other Leopard imports, Michael Efevberha who and Deyonta Davis. Efevberha and Davis spent time in the states playing Division I basketball and Davis played in the NBA for a short time. The two had fifteen and fourteen points respectively. Efevberha was the only player on the Leopards with any advanced ball handling skills.

The T1 League only allows two imported players on the court at a time, so all three couldn’t share the floor at the same time. The Leopards homegrown talent was depleted by a brawl that took place two games ago, and sorely missed Lu Chieh-Min especially. Chieh-Min is the Leopards marksman, and without him shot a pathetic 8/31 from deep.


Howard In Taiwan

Overall, it was a fun game to attend. The atmosphere was solid for this level, and tickets are quite cheap, with the lowest non-floor seating costing only twenty dollars. Howard seems to be interested enough to actually try in these games, and yet the level is just high enough that he doesn’t easily dominate and the games can be competitive.

There are a few solid players, and while there are some guys that you could argue might not belong on a professional basketball court, it’s a good product overall. If you ever find yourself in Taiwan, catch a game, if only for the spectacle of seeing Howard in Taiwan for an affordable price.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Featured Articles

Featured Writers

More in Features