Los Angeles Lakers owner Jeanie Buss turned a lot of heads when she decided to not so subtly take a jab at former coach Mike D’Antoni for how he used Dwight Howard. Considering D’Antoni is currently coaching the Houston Rockets, it was very interesting Buss decided to put him on blast.
The veteran coach has gotten plenty of criticism over his career and Buss’s thoughts on how he used Howard during his first tenure with the Lakers are certainly valid. However, Howard decided to take the high road when he addressed the owner’s comments, per ESPN’s Dave McMenamin:
Well, thank you, Jeanie for always taking up for me. I appreciate it. But that happened in 2013 and I’d rather just leave it there and focus on what we’re doing this year. We’re the best in the NBA. We have an opportunity to win a championship this year. So, I don’t want to dig up anything from the past. It doesn’t even matter. It didn’t work out the way we all wanted it to. I love Coach D’Antoni. The system that he had, he thought that was going to work for us. Se we bought into it. It just didn’t happen the way it was supposed to happen but now we got all the right piece. We got some really good role players. We got some good guys who can put the ball in the basket. Great coaching staff. So we got everything that we need to win it.
Howard is definitely a different guy these days. He’s embraced a lesser role with the Lakers and brings no drama to the team at all. He’s done a lot to make it up to Los Angeles for his first stint with the team.
Howard Credits Antony Davis for LeBron’s Success
Howard spent years being one of the top big men in the NBA. Now he’s playing under Anthony Davis, who many consider to be at the top of the league. With Davis and LeBron James, the Lakers have one of the best duos in the NBA. Howard believes that Davis has brought out the best in LeBron.
“Well, AD has had an effect on LeBron,” Howard said, per McMenamin. “I think the way that he’s playing, now LeBron’s saying, ‘I got to step my level of play up because AD, my running partner, every night he’s there.’ … he’s given LeBron new life.”
Last season was a lost one for LeBron, but he’s now returned to MVP form. Much of that is thanks to the Davis addition. With both of them playing like MVP candidates, Los Angeles has a real shot at getting back to the NBA Finals.
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Howard Has Been Incredibly Efficient
Howard is far removed from being a team’s best player, but his ability to reinvent himself has been very impressive. Though he’s averaging career lows in minutes, rebounds and points per game, he’s become a valuable part of the Lakers’ bench. He’s currently hitting almost 74% of his shots, which is ridiculous. No, he’s not about to blow up for a 30 or 40 point game, but if he shoots the ball, it’s almost a given he’s going to make it.