However, there is a full season to be played before Superman, Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, Pau Gasol and the rest of the L.A. squad even truly begin their quest for a ring when the playoffs begin.
Let’s take a look at some accolades that DH12 could garner during the 2012-13 campaign and make a prediction on how the Lake Show will fare in the postseason.
Statistics: 19.5 PPG, 15.0 RPG, 2.4 BPG, 1.3 SPG, 0.8 APG
Howard isn’t going to be counted on to be the main scorer with the Black Mamba in the picture. However, he’s going to be a formidable option if he’s running the pick-and-roll tandem with Nash. Dwight was the top scorer in the league running the PnR with Jameer Nelson and the other sub-par point guards on the Orlando Magic roster, so he’ll easily get close to 20 PPG with the two-time NBA MVP running the show.
With Bynum out of the picture and Gasol getting a bit older, DH12 will be the main rebounder on the Lakers. Expect him to attack the glass on both ends and pull down to 15 a game.
Superman can also reasonably be counted on to hit near his career numbers of a bit higher for blocks and steals, although his assists will dip in Mike Brown’s offense and the fact that he will want to use his touches to try and score.
Awards: Defensive Player of the Year, Starting Center: Western Conference, First-Team All-NBA, First-Team All Defense
Howard’s popularity, new locale and defensive prowess will garner him a ton of awards. Expect the new Lakers center to run away with the DPoY and First-Team All-Defense award if he’s able to get his blocks number up and protect the rim like he has throughout his entire career.
DH12 will also be the West’s starting center since he has now replaced Andrew Bynum as the most dominant big in the conference.
With those accolades, it’ll be tough for the voters not to put Dwight on the All-NBA First-Team.
How Far Will the Lakers Go?
With four ring-hungry superstars and a decent enough bench, it’s not likely that anyone will be able to stop the purple-and-gold machine.
Don’t be surprised when L.A. is back in the Finals in 2012, although it will have a tough battle against the East’s representative—most likely the Miami Heat.
Prediction for NBA Finals: Heat over Lakers in seven games.