Dwight Howard: Statistical Predictions for DH12's First Season in Los Angeles
First reaction? The Los Angeles Lakers are going to be really good.
Hall of Fame point guard? Check. Arguably the best shooting guard in the history of the game not named Michael? Check. Crazy small forward? Check. Stud international power forward coming off a very good Olympic Games? Check. Future Hall of Fame center? Done.
Throw in a bench that now features the likes of Antawn Jamison and sharpshooter Jodie Meeks, and the Lakers are scary talented.
With that being said, just for funsies, let's take a look at how Dwight Howard will likely produce with the best surrounding talent he's ever had.
How many games will Howard play in 2012-13?
Howard is coming off major back surgery, and although he becomes a free agent next summer, the 26-year-old is now Los Angeles' clear-cut face of the franchise for the future.
Don't expect the Lakers to rush him back (although if he recovers like expected, he will be "back" in time for the start of the season) or even force him to play if he has minor ailments throughout the season.
That being said, Howard has always been a healthy player. Last year was the most time he missed, and he still played 81 percent of Orlando's games.
All in all, Howard isn't the man of steel he used to be, but he can still be relied upon. I'll go with 70 total games played.
This is a tough one.
On the one hand, L.A. has so many weapons, defenses won't be able to double-team him constantly like in the past. On the other, he now has Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and company to help shoulder the scoring load.
In a similar fashion, Dwight has never had a scorer in the backcourt like Kobe, but he's also never had someone to run the pick-and-roll as well as Steve Nash does.
With all of these factors pulling Howard's potential scoring average both ways, expect to stay right in the middle. I'll go with an even 21.0 points per game, which is a mark that is right above last year's output and just below 2010-11's.
There's not a whole lot in Los Angeles to stop Howard from being the monstrous rebounder he's always been.
Pau Gasol might snatch a few away, but Howard was next to a solid rebounder in Ryan Anderson last season and still pulled 14.5. In fact, Howard has continually improved his numbers on the glass, so let's live dangerously.
I'll say Howard reaches 15.0 boards per game in 2012-13.
This one is fairly simple.
Howard gets assists when he has shooters that surround him. He draws attention in the post, kicks it out and usually there's plenty of open players on the wing.
That was always Orlando's style, and that's how Ryan Anderson led the league in three-pointers made last season.
J. Meric/Getty Images
However, Howard's kick outs to the wing might find an open player, but defenses are ready to rotate—meaning ball rotations usually occur—leaving DH12 with more hockey assists than basketball assists.
Nonetheless, Los Angeles has plenty of good shooters, so I'll go with 2.5 assists, a career high, in 2012-13.
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