Lakers Big Man Called Out After Benching

Getty Images Lakers big men Dwight Howard and DeAndre Jordan.

DeAndre Jordan was benched in favor of Dwight Howard against the Sacramento Kings and the Los Angeles Lakers big man was the target of some harsh criticism following the win.

Jordan played just four minutes and grabbed two rebounds before being yanked out of the game. The 33-year-old big man was caught having an intense conversation with Lakers coach Frank Vogel along the sideline in the midst of the rough outing.

What really did not help Jordan’s cause is that Howard — who started the second half — shined bright against the Kings with 12 points and 13 rebounds, also recording a pair of blocks and steals. Jordan heard it from all angles after the game, especially on social media.

“Dwight Howard needs to be getting all of DeAndre Jordan’s minutes,” one tweet read.

Another critic was a little harsher on Jordan.

“1. Why is Deandre Jordan still on an NBA roster. 2. Why is he starting over Dwight Howard only to play 4 minutes,” the tweet read.

Vogel Says Howard is ‘Familiar’ With What Lakers Do

Howard went into the game thinking that he would not be leaving the bench. Instead, he served as a major sparkplug for the Lakers in the much-needed victory. Howard had suited up but not played in the game prior against the Pistons.

“Coach told me I wasn’t really going to play tonight before the game. I was kind of down and expecting not to play,” Howard said in his walk-off interview with Spectrum Sports. “But you always have to be ready to play. He called my number and I wanted to make sure if a played tonight I was going to give it 110% effort to help this team win.”

Vogel addressed the change and the decision to bench Jordan in his postgame press conference.

“Just a coach’s decision. I felt like Dwight was going to give us a lift in this game and I was right,” Vogel said. “He played terrific. He came in and really changed the game with his energy. Him in particular in that third quarter with his pick and roll coverage, he’s more familiar with what we do. He came in and just really set the tone with physicality, with effort, communication, and obviously helped us on the boards.”

While it wasn’t a direct indictment of Jordan, it would not be a surprise to see Howard take over the center spot in the starting five.

Laker Plan to Experiment With Lineup

With so many new players sporting the purple and gold, the Lakers are still trying to find what works. That includes getting a peek at what smaller lineups featuring Anthony Davis — or even LeBron James — at center looks like.

For what it’s worth, Vogel did mention that Howard and Jordan would split the big man time as they look at smaller lineups.

“It’s not always going to be DJ. Sometimes it’ll be Dwight,” Vogel said earlier this week. “You could see Dwight in the starting lineup with DJ being the third center or whatnot. We’ll just continue to evaluate that going forward.”

We’ll see how the Lakers handle the situation — especially with LeBron James out — going forward. The team has a few days off before taking on the Clippers on Friday.

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