Dwight Howard: Lakers Bench Players Who Will Aid Start of Superman Era

Steven Cook@@stevencookinFeatured Columnist IVAugust 13, 2012

DENVER, CO - MAY 06:  Jordan Hill #27 of the Los Angeles Lakers and JaVale McGee #34 of the Denver Nuggets battle for rebounding position in Game Four of the Western Conference Quarterfinals in the 2012 NBA Playoffs at Pepsi Center on May 6, 2012 in Denver, Colorado. The Lakers defeated the Nuggets 92-88 to take a 3-1 lead in the series. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
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If Dwight Howard is to be as successful as many are saying with the Los Angeles Lakers, it's going to take solid play from many key parts other than himself, and it all starts with the bench.

Bench play, particularly in offensive sets, was the Achilles heel for L.A. in 2011-12. If they put anything on the court of similar quality in that aspect this season, they'll have a hard time even getting out of their conference. 

There's no doubting the Lakers made some huge moves outside of the D-12 deal, but it all eventually will go through Howard. The biggest aspect of these players is how they'll mesh with the league's best big man and how each will complement the other's game.

For some teammates more than others he'll have different impacts, and each should ultimately have an impact on how many games L.A. wins with Howard at the helm.


Jordan Hill

Hill came into his own down the stretch for L.A. last season, and they're expecting more of the same from him after a strong playoffs. 

The former University of Arizona standout is going to offer strong minutes off the bench, usually in substitution of Howard. He'll have to hold down the post without the three-time Defensive Player of the Year in the game.

Hill has averaged about five points per game throughout most of his career, and he's actually seen better numbers elsewhere than in his first year with the Lakers. But that shouldn't be surprising after sitting behind the quality big men that are in Los Angeles. 

The Lakers were smart to keep Hill around, because he's an energetic, hard-working rebounder with athletic point-scoring attributes. His numbers rising won't mean good things for D-12's numbers, but they will mean good things for the Lakers' chances of winning games. 


Antawn Jamison

A player of Antawn Jamison's ability would usually be the marquee free-agent signing of any team, but he's not even the third-best acquisition by the Lakers this offseason. But he still has a huge impact on Dwight Howard's emergence as a Laker.

As I mentioned before (and it needs to be mentioned again), the Lakers' bench was atrocious last season. It's the most basic weakness when they face the Oklahoma City Thunder in the West, and it will continue to hurt them in the future if it cannot be fixed.

Jamison has that responsibility immediately facing him, like so many of his veteran counterparts shifting locations this offseason. He's only remembered as one of the best players on his team, and now is forced to put up impressive numbers with significantly less time. 


Steve Blake

Blake is one of the biggest losers of the Lakers' offseason, although he may not even think so considering his chances of getting a ring just exponentially increased. 

Though, he'll still mesh into a solid backup point guard with his solid decision-making abilities and swift three-point shot. He did prove to be effective at the position late last season with Ramon Sessions around.

Blake is proven enough as a Laker to get plenty of time on the court next season. Also, Steve Nash is far from a young player and may need more time off than the average point guard (he's 38, just so you know). 

He's always been a pass-first player, and Howard is going to be the primary pass-catching player on L.A. this season—you do the math. 


Steven Cook is a featured columnist and syndicated writer for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter to chat about all things sports.