Alright it's time for another quarantine NBA Twitter debate and this time we're talking about two of the most dominant bigs in their respective eras. Now I don't think it's really fair to compare a whole era of Prime Dwight against a single season of AD's, so I'm going to adjust this slightly and pick what I think is the best Prime Dwight season. It's not as easy as you think because from 2007-2014 every Dwight season was pretty insane. I think a fair year to choose would be the 2008-09 season which was his age 23 season. He led the league in both rebounding and blocks while averaging 20.6 points and basically carried the Magic to the Finals.
So now that we have that sorted, let's look at both players objectively.
2008-09 Dwight Howard
Stats: 20.6 points / 13.8 rebounds / 1.4 assists / 1.0 steals / 2.9 blocks / 7.6 Defensive Win Shares / 13.8 win shares / 95 Drtg / 113 Ortg
In 2020, a lot of people clown on Dwight and seem to forget what a monster Prime Dwight was. This season was the first of his three straight DPOY seasons, the Magic won 59 games and went through a Sixers, Celtics (without KG) and LeBron to get to their first Finals appearance since 1995. While offensively he was somewhat limited in that he didn't really take too many shots outside of 10 ft, in fact of his 989 total shots that season only 61 came from 10ft or more. As you can see though, it didn't really matter. Dwight was able to heavily influence the game on both ends despite not having that extensive of an offensive arsenal. The NBA was a little different in terms of style back then, but I truly think that if this version of Dwight played in 2020, he would be just as dominant. He was 4th in MVP voting that year!
2019-20 Anthony Davis
Stats: 26.7 points / 9.4 rebounds / 3.1 assists / 1.5 steals / 2.4 blocks / 4.1 Defensive Win Shares / 10.3 win shares / 101 Drtg / 121 Ortg
If you were to build a protypical big in today's NBA, it's hard to do much better than Anthony Davis. That's just a fact. Compared to Prime Dwight he's a completely different species offensively, both in terms of what is in his arsenal and when it come to his ability to be a playmaker. He's essentially a point guard trapped in a big man's body. The thing is, he also brings DPOY caliber defense to the table. Depending on who you ask he's either the leader in the clubhouse this year for the award or in the top 2. From a "skill" standpoint this argument isn't really close in my opinion. AD is a much more "skilled" player than Prime Dwight.
So which way am I leaning? Well, the question isn't who is the more skilled player, it's who you would take. Based on what we've seen, I've witnessed Dwight carrying a team to the Finals. We didn't exactly see AD do the same in his opportunity as a #1 option. That might not be fair but I can't ignore that fact. It also obviously depends on what the rest of my team looks like, but I don't think it's crazy to say that the impact Prime Dwight made on the game is greater than what we are seeing this version of AD make. Whether you want to take my specific 2008-09 year or use his entire prime run as your starting point, that was a type of dominance that was more impressive in my eyes.
That's why for me, the answer is Prime Dwight. Do you agree? If not give your reasons.