The REAL Reason Why Dwight Howard HELPS LeBron James & The Lakers (Ft. NBA Dunks, Defense, & Blocks)
Dwight Howard signed with the Lakers and is now with LeBron James and Anthony Davis, but does he actually help the Lakers? #NBA #Lakers
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Dwight Howard signed with the Lakers on Mamba day, which makes perfect sense after Kobe and Dwight’s relationship. Yeah, especially after the injury DeMarcus Cousins, so I wanted to dive deeper into all this and show how Dwight Howard can still be effective and perfectly fits their needs. Drop a like for the amount of the amount of free throws Dwight Howard has missed, and don’t worry I counted, 7722.
Dwight Howard is a 3 time defensive player of the year, a 5 time first team ALL-NBA, a guy that was dominant and led his team to the Finals. He was dunking on people, blocking shots, grabbing all the rebounds but he wasn’t doing this on crazy stats, averaging 20.6 points and 13.8 rebounds, but that was a different time, a different era with centers actually posting up. You might have PTSD from the last time Dwight Howard was on the Lakers, so I just wanted to have a quick side note. Dwight averaged 17.1 points and 12.4 rebounds along with 2.4 blocks shooting 58% from the field. He led the league in rebounding and played in 76 games, but he also played most of the season with a torn labrum in his shoulder, making it extremely painful for him to use that shoulder in movements or bang down low.
Fast forward to just two years ago in the 2017-2018 season, and Dwight averaged 16.6 points and 12.5 rebounds on 55% shooting from the field along with 1.6 blocks. He played in 81 games, and was 8th in the league in offensive rebounds per game at 3.1, similar to a guy like Clint Capela who averaged 3.3 rebounds. All of this was just in 30.4 minutes a game, a starting role, but nothing too much. He impacted shots, leading to a 4.6% drop in shots less than 6 feet. Dwight is definitely not as athletic as before, but that doesn’t mean that all his defensive instincts and timing to block and disrupt shots are gone.
As I already mentioned, Dwight is a great rebounder, still one of the best in the league. That means the Lakers don’t have rely heavily on Anthony Davis to bang down low for rebounds. Instead, Dwight Howard would fill that role which helps AD play more of his natural position and also avoid more injuries. The Lakers don’t compromise here, in fact Dwight Howard has actually averaged more rebounds than DeMarcus has in the same 6 year stretch in about 31 minutes a game.
What I haven’t talked about specifically are his pick and rolls. Dwight Howard was used as a versatile pick setter. What separates Dwight from many other centers is really his quickness with his strength at the center spot. As you can see, Dwight can set mean screens that really holds up the defense, but more importantly that that, Dwight has great foot speed and acceleration. He’s great at readjusting the pick as needed. Guys like Rondo and LeBron James are playmakers that snake their way using the pick to survey the floor and find the opening, either for themselves or for others. Howard has proven to continuously move his feet. This movement confuses defenses and with Howards acceleration to the rim and good roll angles, LeBron and Rondo will have a lot of passing lanes to find Dwight deep in the paint, either for a lob or a layup. LeBron gets another pick and roll option with a guy who can match LeBron’s pace when LeBron speeds up or slows down. Howard can also take some of the defensive attention off of LeBron when he rolls, giving LeBron more space to pull up from 3.
His quickness also translates defensively. He’s not the defensive player of the year he once was, but he’s still got those instincts. He’s a great weak side defender, not necessarily blocking shots like he used to, but still getting great contests. He is also able to go out on the perimeter on these high pick and rolls and contest bigs that can shoot 3s or even guards.
Yes, Dwight Howard only played 9 games last season, due to rehabbing from his back surgery and a gluteal injury which is where all the jokes come from. But if you look at Dwight’s career, he’s been relatively healthy. In 15 seasons including his last season of 9 games and a lockout season of 66 games, Dwight has averaged 69.6 games per season.
Dwight’s mental baggage is another story. The Lakers felt as if Howard had reached his lowest point and was humbled by it. A guy who got his coach fired, who didn’t want to with a champion in Kobe, who couldn’t a reduced role of being a secondary star with Harden. None of his money is guaranteed. And for what he brings to the table, elite rebounding, rim protecting, and pick and rolls, that makes Dwight one of the most effective role player centers in the league that can easily help the Lakers.