Dwight Howard: Could Superman Succeed on Kobe's Lakers?
On a team with the ball-demanding Kobe Bryant, Howard might be facing new challenges on the offensive end.
D12 has never been on a team loaded with as much talent as the Lakers.
With that talent will comes the loss of touches, and Howard’s numbers would likely go down if he moves to LA, even though the team’s overall wins would go up.
Relative to Gasol, Howard’s offensive game is far less polished, and he could see the ball far less frequently than in his time with the Magic.
Still, playing alongside the brilliant Steve Nash gives Howard the opportunity to put up more efficient numbers across the board.
Adept at making his team better, Nash would optimize Howard's offensive game.
The Phoenix Suns had their best years when they moved Amare Stoudemire to center, pushed the tempo and scored in a hurry. Loaded with shooters and talent like Joe Johnson, Quentin Richardson and Shawn Marion, Nash and these Suns thrived under coach Mike D'Antoni's run-and-gun system.
When Phoenix made the move to acquire Shaquille O’Neal, the Suns seven seconds or less offense became seven seconds or Shaq.
The team took a hit in the standings and never recovered from the offensive transition.
Howard’s explosiveness, defensive presence and ability to get out on the break make him the perfect candidate to run with Nash and co. in the Lakers Showtime 2.0 offense.
The open shots Howard will get from playing alongside Nash should serve to offset the amount of isolation plays Bryant is likely to get.
At times in the playoffs, Bryant shot his team out of the game with volume shooting that resulted in a stagnated offense.
In LA’s crushing game four loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder in the Western Conference semifinals, the Mamba scored 38 points on 12 of 28 shooting.
His 43 percent shooting clip really hurt the Lakers, as he opted for contested fadeaway jump shots down the stretch, rather than pound it in to Gasol and Andrew Bynum in the post.
Would Dwight Howard succeed on Kobe's Lakers?
Kobe’s 28 shots were a game high and three more than Bynum's and Gasol's field goal attempts combined.
The result was resounding, a 103-100 loss and a +/- of -9 for Bryant in the box score.
Surely every Laker will benefit from the addition of Nash. Bryant will likely become the team's biggest beneficiary, however, as a significant amount of the offensive load will fall off of his shoulders.
Although Bryant’s alpha male status could intimidate Howard, D12 is the type of dominant big man that can succeed with few touches.
Howard’s role on the team would be concrete and defined: he would be a rebounder and rim protector capable of getting out on the break and putting up numbers on the offensive end.
He is not the type of finesse player that would use his post savvy down the stretch in a close ball game.
Bryant had a field day in the playoffs, chewing out Gasol for his lack of aggression and shifting some of the accountability in the Lakers' poor second-round performance.
While expectations for Howard in Los Angeles would be massive, Kobe would still be one with the target on his back after a Lakers' loss.
Nevertheless, if Howard decides to take the ego hit and become second fiddle to Kobe on the Lakers, the potential for greatness in the west would be unmatched.
Bryant and Nash are on the tail ends of their careers, leaving Howard as the heir to the purple and gold throne in the future.
D12 had what it took to beat both the Boston Celtics and LeBron James’ Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference. Playing with Bryant in LA could be the right remedy for knocking off OKC, the Los Angeles Clippers and the San Antonio Spurs in the postseason.
It’s still Kobe’s team. Make no mistake about that.
But some early success in Hollywood could trump Howard’s ego, and be the exact sort of solution that Superman is so desperately looking for.
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