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Experience: 8 Seasons
Recovering From: Herniated Disk in Spine
Although we constantly acknowledge Derrick Rose's heartbreaking knee injury, we rarely discuss what was the most devastating injury of the 2011-12 season. That ailment, of course, came when Dwight Howard suffered a herniated disk in his spine and was ruled out for the remainder of the season.
In turn, the Magic dropped 10 of their final 14 games, including a a 4-1 series loss to the Indiana Pacers in the playoffs.
After having surgery on his back, Howard began the long road to recovery with a trade to the Los Angeles Lakers (via ESPN.com). Howard has already begun to develop a rapport with his star-studded supporting cast, including Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, Pau Gasol and Antawn Jamison.
To put it simply, Dwight Howard has never even imagined being surrounded by this much talent. While with the Orlando Magic, Howard was never even paired with one player of that caliber.
During the 2012-13 NBA season, Howard's role will be to protect the rim at all costs. The offense will be virtually instant with Nash, Bryant, Gasol and Jamison, which makes D-12's job on offense quite simple.
Crash the boards, score off of the pick-and-roll and bring the rim down. You know, what he had been doing in Orlando.
The difference in Los Angeles, however, is that Howard is no longer the focal point of an offense. One could argue that he is is the fourth-best offensive player on the Lakers, although his physical dominance would thrust him to the top of any team's list.
With that being noted, expect Howard to finish with virtually the same 20 points and 14 rebounds you're used to seeing. The man is too good off of the pick-and-roll to be taken out of the flow of things, while Steve Nash is the master of the craft.
Paired together, expect a lighter workload and an elevated level of production from D-12.
2011-12 Season Averages
54 GP, 24.29 PER, 20.6 PPG, 14.5 RPG, 1.9 APG, 2.1 BPG, 1.5 SPG