In a reserve role this season, Howard is averaging 7.5 points, 7.4 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game for a 49-14 Lakers team that is in first place in the NBA’s Western Conference standings.
This was a rebound year for the first overall pick in the 2004 NBA Draft. The 6’11 center missed most of the 2018-19 season due to injuriy and Howard eventually signed with the Lakers last summer after DeMarcus Cousins‘ injury during a workout had the Lakers filling an extra roster spot available.
Injuries have been Howard’s achilles heel and one of his former teammates spoke candidly about Howard.
Insert Metta World Peace.
“He had a surgery and nobody was being easy on him,” World Peace told me on today’s episode of the Scoop B Radio Podcast.
“He had a surgery that removed a disc from his back the size of a big cookie. And he had that thing in his back and he was coming back early…man, people were expecting him to be the same; you have to give it some time. I mean, the Laker fans were really hard on him; they were way to hard on him. He was coming off a back surgery out for a year. I mean what more do you expect? So now, he’s kind of the same person. He’s a great player.”
Howard, 34 is a five-time All-Defensive Team member. The Atlanta, Georgia native has also won the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year award three times and is a NBA Slam Dunk Contest winner. “I think I’ve done an excellent job of playing basketball my whole life,” Howard told me last summer.
“My resume is something that, you know, I don’t really have to speak for. I’m happy that I’ve had the opportunity to play basketball. So, I think I’ve done an excellent job of playing and I don’t know…I think one day I’ll get the recongition that I deserve.”
An eight-time NBA All Star, some pundits have discussed whether Howard is a Naismith Hall of Famer. He addressed it last year. “I mean it’s not up to me,” he told me.
“But I think one day I’ll get the recongition that I deserve. Until then I’m going to continue to get better, continue to smile and contunue to enjoy life.”