OUR SPORTS WORLD
-Bill Lumbergh (Gary Cole) in Office Space
I guess one disappointing stint with Dwight Howard wasn’t enough for the Los Angeles Lakers. They had to go back for seconds.
With DeMarcus Cousins out with an injured knee, Los Angeles added Howard to the roster to take his spot. The Lakers will his sixth team in five years. The Memphis Grizzlies waived him. So did the Brooklyn Nets. The flailing Wizards decided that nine games with him were enough. And everywhere he’s been, he’s been a headache for teammates, coaches, and front office personnel on and off the court.
Howard is a dinosaur in today’s NBA. He doesn’t have the offensive repertoire like other bigs and can’t run with the speedy little guys all over the West. But he can add value in the right situation. There’s still a need for big bodies in basketball. There’s still a need for defensive presence in the middle.
When healthy, he’s been effective. In 2018, he averaged 16.6 points and 12.5 rebounds per game as a starter with the Charlotte Hornets. More importantly, he played in 81 games that year. He’s lost 25 pounds. He’s still a good finisher offensively and a capable deterrent defensively. And in this interview with Kristine Leahy, he talked about how he's grown since his last stint in LA.
But his words are meaningless without action. Howard has to show he won’t be a distraction on a team that’s already had more than its share. He can’t be a liability on the free throw line. He can’t demand the ball and complain when he doesn’t get it. He has to show that he’ll be willing do whatever he needs to do whenever the team needs. In other words, he has to be what he is: a player on a non-tenured, non-guaranteed contract.
The Lakers don’t need a Big Three. If Dwight Howard thinks he will make them one, then this season is already lost.