This article is written by Brandon Rosenthal, with a special paragraph by NoLimit.Juiced
On September 5th, 2019, Dwight Howard was officially introduced as a Los Angeles Laker, making this his second stint with the purple and gold. Dwight’s first time with the Lakers ended in such poor taste that it was pretty shocking that he ended up back in LA. The over-confident Dwight Howard that bolted Los Angeles in 2013 was nowhere to be found this time around. Instead, we saw a humbled Dwight Howard who said he hit “rock bottom” in this past off-season and that “it was a blessing” to be back in a Lakers uniform. As a Laker fan (and as an NBA fan), how can you not be rooting for that?
My job is to come here and help this team win, it’s not to get into any arguments with Shaq or Kobe or anybody. I don’t plan to let anything distract me from helping this team win a championship.”-Dwight Howard on this upcoming season
America loves comeback stories. Every major sport has a “comeback player of the year”. We love it when people overcome adversity and/or injuries to get back on top, or at the level they once were. The “Dwight-to-LA” story has a comeback feel to it, but it’s more of a redemption story. Looking back at Dwight’s initial stint with the Lakers, he played hard … there is no doubt about it. Whenever I watched Dwight, I saw his effort defensively and how he ran the floor. When Kobe and Dwight ran pick-and-rolls, it was lethal … it reminded me of a poor man’s Shaq and Kobe (we all know who the poor man in that combo is). I also saw that Dwight complained a lot, committed silly/lazy fouls, and wanted to post up a lot … which made zero sense because:
- He was an average post player
- The Lakers had Kobe in his late-prime
- The Lakers also had Pau
The Dwight in 2013 didn’t “get it”. Though I will give him this, he played through a tough shoulder injury. Dwight left the first time because he thought things were better on the other side and he was entitled to do so. The fit was never great so after he left, I didn’t mind at all. The Lakers traded Andrew Bynum (who missed the entire season) to get Dwight Howard, so I never felt like it was a bad deal. I was more upset at the Lakers begging Dwight to stay in 2013 (man … so embarrassing). This time around, both parties are more humbled and have essentially hit “rock bottom”. Dwight has been on four teams in three years, has not reached the postseason since 2017, and is coming off a season in which he only played 9 games … partly because of a butt-injury in 2018 (I’m not kidding). While the Lakers have been putrid and have not reached the postseason since Dwight left in 2013, only averaging 27.1 wins per season. However, this time around seems different. The cast around Dwight is different (LeBron, AD, Jason Kidd, all players he is familiar with), and more importantly, Dwight is different.
Bonus 2Cents from NoLimit.Juiced
Dwight’s career had been on the decline until his stint with the Hornets 2 years ago. He quietly averaged 17 pts and 13 rebs on 55.5% from the field. In my opinion, he was a surefire top-10 center in the league. He also played in 81 of 82 games that season. This was his most played since he carried his Magic to the Finals in 2010. Last year, before succumbing to injury, he was just getting into the flow of good things to come. He was an efficient 13 and 9 on 63.3% shooting, he was just starting to really get going right when he shut down for the season. Dwight hinted at special things to come last year. Howard said before the start of the season that he wanted to evolve into his own version of Anthony Davis, Kevin Durant, over the next decade. As far as last season goes, that was an empty promise. But these are scary words. I don’t think the league wants to imagine a Dwight Howard with a three point shot and mid-range. Very Scary.
–An OG OJ Bonus Joint
I am just a basketball fan who loves the Lakers. Whenever I hear that someone wants to play for the Lakers, I am already a fan. Dwight, I feel like I can speak for all Lakers fans when I say … let’s go kick some ass this season! Welcome back to L.A.! However, please keep the locker room farts and jokes to a minimum (unless we are up 20).
Thanks for reading! Until next time!