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NBA Blogtable: Who’ll have bigger impact, Russell or Howard?

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NBA: Los Angeles Lakers at New York Knicks Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

NBA.com asked nine of its writers this question: “Who will get a better return next season from their recent trade: the Hornets with Dwight Howard or the Nets with D’Angelo Russell?”

And for the most part, the writers chose Howard. Only two writers, John Schuhman (founder of NetsDaily) and Shaun Powell, the former Newsday columnist, were unabased Russell supporters.

It was not so much that the writers dissed Russell. It was more that the writers thought Howard would have the greater immediate impact.

Schuhmann looked at this coming season as well as the long-term...

Russell will surely have the better offensive numbers, playing at the league's fastest pace and in an offense that spaces the floor. But Howard can obviously make the bigger defensive impact on a team that regressed on that end of the floor last season. Charlotte is looking to make the playoffs next season and Howard can help them do that, especially if he's willing to be a high-volume screener in their offense. Russell, meanwhile, was the better trade for a team looking long-term.

Powell liked what Russell can bring immediately...

My pick is Russell but I suspect both will be decent additions to their new teams. Russell will have the ball far more often and will be allowed to make his mistakes on a team that's clearly building for the future. Howard will split time at the position and won't be on the floor during crunch time in tight games because of his anemic free throw shooting. But at least he'll enjoy playing for old pal/Hornets coach Steve Clifford and therefore keep the distractions to a minimum.

A number of those supporting Howard cited the maturity issues of both players. Fran Blinebury summed it up this way...

Two immature kids that you’re just not sure will ever grow up to be ultimate professionals that can make their teams champions. Of course, one of them will be 32 in December. That said, the Dwight Howard World Tour might have landed him in just the right place with a coach that knows him in Steve Clifford and a situation where he could deliver what the Hornets want — rebounding, defense and a few lob dunks. Just don’t let him take this 3-point shots he’s been practicing.

As for David Aldridge, he picked Howard, too, and professed skepticism about Russell in the short-term, not agreed with the Nets thinking in trading for him...

I'm in Show Me mode with Russell. I get why Brooklyn brought him in; with all their first-rounders going to Boston until the U.S. Tricentennial, the Nets weren't going to have any young talent coming in for the foreseeable future. There was no risk in taking a look at Russell and seeing if he can harness his talent and demeanor to become the floor general the Lakers hoped he'd become when they made him the second overall pick a couple of years ago.

One thing not discussed in any depth: the age difference between the two. Russell is 21, won’t turn 22 till mid-season. Howard is 10 years older.