The perception that Haywood somehow had a "breakout" year last year is somewhat ....... well........wrong.
Yes - he scored more... Yes - he rebounded more....
But his per-40 minute stats have been remarkably similar for the last 4-5 years.
So why the "breakout"?
He was simply given more minutes last year because Thomas was out. The same can be said about the 06-07 run when the Wizards were leading the Eastern Conference. Thomas was hurt, and Haywood was getting minutes, and putting up numbers.
Here are some stats - - -
Points per 40 minutes:
Rebounds per 40 minutes:
Rebound Rate is the percentage of missed shots that a player rebounds.
The only stat that really jumps out at me as dramatically higher than the other years, is Haywood's Free Throw percentage in 2007-08. He went from being a poor FT shooter (less than 60%) to a good one (74%)... Which helped to contribute to a slightly higher per 40 minute scoring average.
What these stats tend to indicate is that, all along, Haywood has been a very capable NBA Starting Center. His per-40 stats stack up well against other front line Eastern Conference Centers like Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Al Horford, Jermaine O'Neal and Rasheed Wallace. ** He was just not given the minutes of a Starter until last year.
** I left Dwight Howard off that list, .........well, because quite frankly, comparing him to ANYONE else is just not fair.