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After over a year of “he said, she said” between Dwight Howard and the Orlando Magic, Howard finally got his wish and was shipped off to L.A. He joins Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Steve Nash to a form a video game-like lineup.
The main adjustment for Dwight will be his new role. In Orlando the team was built around him with three-point shooters who could spread the floor, allowing Dwight all the space he needed to be a threat offensively.
In L.A., he will serve as more of an elite role player, expected to do only the things that he is capable of doing on nightly basis, i.e. rebound, defend and finish alley-oops.
This could be good and bad. It is well-known that Howard is not an offensive minded talent, and in L.A. he certainly won’t need to be. But if the Lakers struggle early and Howard isn’t getting the ball when he thinks he should be, personalities could clash.
From his publicized feud with former coach Stan Van Gundy, to clashing with his own teammates, it was clearly evident in Orlando that Dwight wasn’t the best at fighting through adversity. And everyone knows that Kobe won’t take much BS, as evidenced by his “this is still my team” comment earlier in the preseason.
Howard is off to a great start, making his preseason debut much earlier than anticipated on Sunday and posting 19 points, 12 rebounds and four blocked shots in 33 minutes. Not a bad way to start your career as a Laker, but with all the hoopla surrounding Dwight’s trade, anything less than an NBA championship would be considered a failure.
With so much talent around him, just like D-Wade did for LeBron, and Shaquille O'Neal did for Wade, Howard will have to prove that he can sacrifice in order to win a championship.