The newest member of the Los Angeles Lakers, Dwight Howard looks to be in the best shape of his career heading into the 2018-2019 season. Trying to live down the disaster that was his first go-round in the purple and gold, Howard seems more motivated and driven compared to his play in years past.
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Los Angeles Lakers’ Dwight Howard Works Shows off Bounce at Venice Beach
Primarily showing off his hops, Howard showed that despite getting up there in age, he still can get WELL above the rim. Aside from offering the Lakers a strong interior rebounding and rim-protecting presence, Howard’s ability to play above the rim should factor into the Lakers’ offensive gameplan. Paired with JaVale McGee, the Lakers look to have a competent body on the floor at all times at center.
Dwight is coming off an injury-shortened season with the Washington Wizards and despite his incredibly low stock, still put up some respectable numbers last season. Putting up 12.8 points and 9.2 rebounds in 25 minutes per game, that level of production – especially off the Lakers bench – would be more than sufficient.
While Howard is far from the dominant force he was when he first came to the Lakers, he has the opportunity to be a key contributor on a title-caliber team. Especially on the defensive end, Howard looks to fill a major void as someone capable of defending the interior behemoths that dominate the league – like Embiid and Jokic.
Dwight Howard’s First Stint in Los Angeles
When Dwight was brought to the Lakers in the summer of 2012, he was at the height of his powers and widely considered the best big man in the league. Coming off three defensive player of the year awards, numerous All-Star and All-NBA teams, and even an NBA Finals run in 2010, Howard was one of the young faces of the league alongside fellow young superstar LeBron James.
While Howard’s numbers weren’t atrocious with the Lakers – he even led the league in rebounding his lone season – they were below his typical level of production. Seeing his scoring dip to below 20 points per game and registering his lowest rebound numbers in over half a decade, Howard struggled mightily in a first-round playoff exit before leaving more money on the table to head to the Houston Rockets.
The playoff performance, in particular, earned him the scorn of Laker fans worldwide. Along with fans, the Laker’s franchise cornerstone, Kobe Bryant, had some notable and serious issues with Howard. Howard now readily admits that Kobe was correct all along, however, Howard and Bryant clashed often on the topic of Howard’s work ethic. Blessed with elite physical tools, Howard never took the time to refine his actual basketball skills more so than he did simply overpower and physically dominate his competition.
The beef between the two would come to a head the following season with Bryant repeatedly screaming “you’re soft” to Howard, then on the Rockets.