Dwight Howard: Carrying the Los Angeles Lakers to Victory on His Massive Shoulders

By Babak Movahed
Dwight Howard, DeMarcus Cousins
Cary Edmondson- USA Today Sports

Dwight Howard the infallible, incredible, and unstoppable force that willed the Los Angeles Lakers to victory over the below .500 Sacramento Kings! That last bit of the sentence seems to take away from the grandiose of Howard’s performance, but that’s alright because we’re not here to discuss why the Lakers struggled against the mediocre Kings, we’re here to talk about Howard’s game.

During Saturday night’s game against the Kings it seemed as though the Lakers were once again going to lose a critical game against an inferior team. However, at one point Howard decided to place the pitiful Lakers on his larger then life shoulders, and corral his team to victory.

Howard had the game-high honors in scoring with 24 points, which were accompanied with a solid 15 rebounds, and five blocked shots. I think it is also important to note that Howard accomplished these feats against the talented, but immature, DeMarcus Cousins, not against some no-named center with a 15-day contract. So I find that this game would make for an excellent opportunity to silence all the Howard critics who are busy cursing and shaking their fists in the air because the young center enjoys smiling.

Despite a widely shared view of his underachieving, Howard’s production has been solid. Howard leads the league in rebounding, is fifth in blocked shots per game, and is the only beacon of consistent defense on the Lakers. I’ll admit that his scoring average has fallen, but you can’t entirely blame Howard for that particular stat.

Mike D’Antoni’s offense, and Kobe Bryant’s unyielding need to shoot the ball have dramatically reduced the amount of touches Howard is accustomed to. The only time the Lakers’ offense is run through Howard is when the lackluster bench is playing the other four positions on the court, which obviously will result in the double-teaming of Howard. Because lets face it, opponents would rather take their chances with the Lakers’ bench shooting 3-pointers, than Howard in the low post.

Essentially what I’m trying to suggest with this whole rant is that the Lakers have to find a way for Bryant and Howard to work harmoniously in the offense, and that critics should be less critical of Howard, and more observant of his contributions. My only hope now is that Howard reads this article, feels touched that someone cares about the positive work he is doing, and firmly decides to stay on the team for years to come. A bit of hopeful optimism is needed for any true Lakers’ fan.

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