For the second time in three years, Dwight Howard is returning to the Los Angeles Lakers. He was supposed to come back to the team last season but a series of miscommunications led to him landing with the Philadelphia 76ers. His stint with the team lasted all of one season and now he’s coming back to where he belongs.
Despite the brief time in Philadelphia, Howard made his love for the team and city clear. He posted a message after signing with the Lakers. In the message, the big took a bit of a jab at 76ers guard Ben Simmons.
The “Bend ya kneeesss” line at the end directed at Simmons is a reference to the fact that the guard doesn’t shoot often. His lack of shooting has become one of the biggest talking points in the NBA over the years. Howard is just one of many who are calling on Simmons to shoot the ball more. It’s all in good fun but there’s truth to what the center is saying.
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What Can Howard Bring to the Lakers?
Howard’s days as one of the best players in the NBA are long in the past. His last All-Star appearance was back in 2014. There was a time when he was the league’s most dominant big man but that’s not the case anymore.
Fortunately, he understands that and has become a very unselfish player. He was great for the Lakers two seasons ago coming off the bench. Howard only started two regular-season games but made a stunning 72.9% off his shot attempts. Most importantly, he never complained about his small role on the team and was always active on the bench.
This season, Howard should bring the team more of the same. It’s hard to imagine he starts but he’ll see plenty of time off the bench, especially against teams with good bigs like the Denver Nuggets. There will be games where he doesn’t play but he’ll be valuable against a number of NBA teams.
Lakers Set at Center?
The Lakers didn’t love their situation at center last season which is evident by the fact that Andre Drummond is headed to Philadelphia and Montrezl Harrell to Washington. Marc Gasol is still under contract and has stated he’d like to return but it’s far from a guarantee that they’ll bring him back. If the Lakers decide to stick with Gasol, they are likely set at center.
Gasol and Howard is a solid duo, especially on defense. Also, there’s been chatter around Anthony Davis spending more time at center. If that’s the case, the Lakers are going to take advantage of those minutes, which means less opportunity for other centers. If Davis gets cold feet and changes his mind, the Lakers could look to add another center during the season. Head coach Frank Vogel loves his bigs so it’s always possible he makes another move. However, the position looks pretty set barring an unforeseen circumstance.