With the Lakers struggling to escape the bottom of the Western Conference, Dwight Howard has been a major part of their success. He is showing a healthy attitude and energy that everyone could use in the locker room. If this can be contagious, they might just have a chance at escaping trouble.
Dwight Howard, a former NBA superstar, is showing a healthy attitude on the court. However, the Lakers need it to be contagious in order to escape from their current troubles.
The return of Dwight Howard is the most intriguing of the Los Angeles Lakers’ actions since the start of the free agency season this summer. To be honest, the 35-year-old center’s tires are definitely worn out, and giving him even a pittance of $2.64 million is a risky decision if the goal is to increase productivity on NBA courts.
Howard, on the other hand, is already proving his faith by sending the correct message to his former and prospective colleagues.
Dwight Howard has been making the rounds in the NBA recently.
Dwight Howard won an NBA championship with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2020, then moved on to the Philadelphia 76ers last season before returning to Los Angeles for another title attempt. | Getty Images/Tim Nwachukwu
Since joining the NBA as the No. 1 overall selection in 2004, Howard has averaged 16.2 points and 12.1 rebounds per game.
Howard, who spent his first eight NBA seasons with the Orlando Magic, will return to the Lakers this fall for his third tour of duty. He spent six seasons with six different clubs, starting with the Houston Rockets. The Washington Wizards’ 2018-19 season was a washout due to injuries that restricted Howard to only nine games. Otherwise, two patterns emerge:
- In his position as a bench player with the Lakers two years ago and the Philadelphia 76ers this season, his production per 36 minutes has slowed.
- Teams have tended to perform well following Howard’s arrival and then decline when he leaves.
Other variables, such as roster changes outside of Howard, may be blamed for the latter. However, having a seasoned presence in the locker room is always beneficial. The Lakers have been doing a lot of it this summer.
For the 2021-22 season, the Los Angeles Lakers have gone all-in on veterans.
Last season, the Lakers were in the lowest fourth of the NBA in total shots and 3-point attempts per game. With 109.5 points per game, they trailed 22 other teams. On defense, they made up for it by hounding opponents into turnovers and low shooting percentages, finishing second in points allowed.
If coach Frank Vogel wants to keep playing the same style of basketball next season, he’ll have to recruit a new group of players. LeBron James and Anthony Davis are back, but the rest of the team is all new. Apart with Howard, the Lakers have signed Russell Westbrook, Carmelo Anthony, Trevor Ariza, and Wayne Ellington thus far, with some tweaking expected before training camp begins.
On an average night, James took 18.3 shots per game and David took 17.0, accounting for 41.0 percent of the Lakers’ efforts.
Now add in some of the more well-known newcomers:
- With the Washington Wizards, Westbrook averaged 19.0 shots per game, a five-year low.
- With the Portland Trail Blazers, Anthony averaged 11.3 shots per game, although he only played 24.5 minutes per game.
With four veterans, it adds up to a lot of shots. If someone – or a few others – refuses to take less prominent positions, the Lakers will have an unpleasant locker room the first time they lose three games in a row.
Dwight Howard is displaying a positive mentality that the Lakers should adopt.
Howard led the Lakers to an NBA championship in 2020 by accepting the position of bench player, something he had never done before. This season, he’ll be no better than the fourth option on offense at any given moment, but he seems OK with it.
According to SilverScreenAndRoll.com, Howard said, “I simply believe it’s about sacrifice.” “What are you prepared to sacrifice in order to win the trophy?” … ‘Dwight, just do what they want you to do, no matter how difficult it may be at times,’ I had to understand my first year back here.
“Everyone wants to get a goal. Everyone aspires to be on the top page of the newspaper.”
The Lakers have a potential to accomplish great things if Westbrook and Anthony adopt that mindset and the key guys remain healthy. There may even be a parade at the end of the season.
“Holding up that trophy and celebrating with your family, the city, and all the people you love, it just means so much more,” Howard added.
Basketball Reference provided all stats.
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