Manchild's encouraging first steps

Updated: October 21, 2004, 4:29 PM ET
By Chad Ford | ESPN Insider
ORLANDO – Five observations from watching the Orlando Magic training camp on Oct 17.

Dwight Howard for Rookie of the Year? When Dwight Howard entered the draft this year, the only thing everyone could agree on was that, while he was talented, he was no LeBron James.

The way Howard has been playing in training camp, we might have to revise that scouting report.

Howard, after an up-and-down summer league, spent the rest of the offseason lifting weights and eating everything in sight in an effort to bulk up for the NBA season.

"I was kind of getting pushed around a little bit out there," Howard said of the summer league. "I didn't like it."

The result? Howard showed up at camp nearly an inch taller and weighing 257 pounds – 17 pounds more than he did when he was drafted. In the past two and half weeks, he's added another five pounds and now claims he weighs 262.

The effects of the weight gain are immediately noticeable. Howard added most of his weight to his upper body. His arms, shoulders and chest are noticeably thicker. On the court, he has held his own against veteran Magic big men Kelvin Cato and Tony Battie – earning himself a starting position and the praise of his teammates.

Chad Ford

ESPN Senior Writer