Whelp, we certainly wouldn’t have drama or continued speculation into the Los Angeles Lakers and their issues without Metta World Peace voicing his opinion.
On Monday, World Peace said that Howard shoulders too much of the weight, stating, “I think we put a little too much pressure on Dwight and as responsible leaders, we gave him a little too much responsibility.” Although World Peaces makes somewhat of a valid point, he’s overlooking the situation entirely. Sure, the responsibility needed to be spread out between all those who were apart of the Lakers’ run (or lack thereof) this season, but he couldn’t be anymore wrong in terms of Howard and his own expectations.
Howard deserves every bit of pressure, criticism and responsibility that he was given. Every single bit — that’s the bottom line. Here is a player, probably the top player in the NBA at his position, who had a falling out as a member of the Orlando Magic and quickly became one of the more criticized players in the league. He was not only criticized for his play, but more so for his demeanor. This is supposed to be the best center in the NBA, why wouldn’t he help shoulder the weight and responsibility of what was expected this season in Los Angeles? Kobe Bryant went down his a torn Achilles and instead of Howard being one of the players to step up, he was ejected from the team’s season finale because — he couldn’t control his anger or frustration?
The Lakers were welcoming in both Howard and Steve Nash to a team that had earned the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference in 2012. Okay, injuries were key. That core group did not play together much this season, but World Peace isn’t talking about the Lakers here, he’s talking about Howard. It’ll be interesting to see if Howard returns to Los Angeles next season, but if he does, don’t expect those expectations to change. In fact, they would probably be even higher.
Howard is the cream of the crop at his position. He’s a franchise player. But he’s had troubles with his attitude and he’s basically dug his own hole in terms of what is expected of him nowadays.
It’s not about pressure, criticism, responsibility or even attitude or frustration issues — it’s about on the court production. Howard is a top talent and it’s time to worry about that and only that.
Follow Paul Seaver on Twitter: @PaulSeaverRS