In a video obtained by Beyond the Buzzer, Kenny Smith states that he believes that Dwight Howard will stay in LA longterm because he “loves the paparazzi more than life.”
Now, that’s a true Los Angeles Laker right there.
When Howard hits the court, his exact return date has not been announced, he will have a lot to prove. Howard must prove that the battle and the stress that he put the Lakers through was well worth it. Howard is in debt to the Lakers.
In the spirit of the battle of Los Angeles, Howard’s Staples Center roommate DeAndre Jordan also has a lot to prove. Jordan, thus far, has proven himself far beyond the perceived potential that he came into the league with. He came into the NBA as a “project” player. Four short years later, he starts for the Los Angeles Clippers alongside Chris Paul.
How will the two starting Los Angeles centers match up against each other and provide for their team? Who is more important to their teams chances of winning?
Jordan’s 2011-2012 stats are as follows: 7.4 PPG, 8.3 RPG, 0.3 APG, 2.0 BPG, 63.2 FG% and + 8.64 EEF.
Howard’s are 20.6 PGG, 14.5 RPG, 1.9 APG, 2.2 BPG, 0.573 FG% and + 26.35 EEF.
On the Orlando Magic, Howard kind of had to “do it all.” His points per game are sure to go down now that he plays for the Lakers. He won’t get the opportunities that he did in Orlando and everyone knows why…
Jordan’s points must go up. Yet, while it’s important that he improves his offensive game, it’s not vital. The Clippers don’t really need him to score. There are other areas of Jordan’s game that are much more important to the team’s success.
The Lakers are still Kobe Bryant‘s team. Bryant once famously said that he eats first and Pau Gasol eats second. Howard has never played with a team that he has to accommodate before. The Magic did everything and then some to meet Howard’s every wish and smooth over his every complaint.
On the Lakers, guys like Metta World Peace tend to find other ways to get their attention needs met, while avoiding the power struggle. Howard wouldn’t be the first center to have issues with Kobe. Bryant will take care of himself first and Gasol second. A smart system as management won’t be able to discipline or control both of them to appease Howard.
Jordan on the other hand is used to playing with superstar teammates. Paul eats first and Blake Griffin second, but in the end, the whole team gets fed.
Will the Lakers be able to work out a system where everyone can eat? Surely the “Kobe centred system” won’t work anymore. Steve Nash passing, Bryant scoring and Howard getting the rebound will never work. Will these superstars allow each other to thrive? Princeton offense needs teamwork to function correctly…
Compared to Griffin and Jordan, Gasol and Howard are the more complete big men package stats wise and on the strengthen and weaknesses front. Yet, this again kind of creates a problem. Lakers love to score but hate to give the assist. They must make horrible wingmen.
Additionally, the Lakers probably won’t be taking pictures of each other sleeping anytime soon.
Griffin and Jordan have some similar strengthens and weaknesses. Griffin is ranked 414 in the league with a .521 % free throw percentage and friend DJ finished last season with a .525 % free throw percentage, which ranks him 413. Out of 459 players. DJ can be fouled continuously. He is at the opposing team’s mercy.
DJ is raw and young. He is physical and athletic and he recovers quickly and has quick feet. DJ loves the pick-and-roll. Few guys run the floor like Jordan does.
In the beginning of the 2011-2012, he dominated. By the postseason, the Clippers competition picked apart aspects of his game that are still developing. In the upcoming season, Jordan will probably be forced to increase his minutes as he has no real reserve at this point because Kenyon Martin is still a free agent and Reggie Evens is gone.
DJ isn’t as polished as Dwight is but he can still clean up. DJ tries hard. Consistently. The only area he is below league average is scoring.
Although Howard is in a league of his own, the Lakers won’t be dependent on him to win during the regular season or to make the playoffs.
The Clippers alternatively, will be highly dependent on DJ to perform in order to hold their own this season.