Was Dwight Howard's Ball-Sharing Comment a Shot at Kobe Bryant?

Hadarii JonesSenior Writer IJanuary 5, 2013

LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 02:  Dwight Howard #12 and Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers leave the court during a 113-103 Orlando Magic win at Staples Center on December 2, 2012 in Los Angeles, California.  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 Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

Even though the Los Angeles Lakers have struggled to a 15-17 record so far in the regular season, the team's star players have refused to air out their frustrations by placing blame on their teammates.

Well, that period of time may have only been the calm before the storm if recent comments made by Dwight Howard are any indication.

Via Deadspin, Howard was recently asked the difference between his Lakers and the Los Angeles Clippers, and Howard's response was anything but diplomatic.

"Look at the difference between our team and theirs," Howard said. "They just play together. They share the ball. Everybody's excited when something happens. We have to be like that to be a great team."

Since Howard also shares the roster with one of the greatest distributors to ever play the game in Steve Nash, it's safe to assume that his comment wasn't pointed in that direction.

If not Nash, then who could Howard be referring to?

Maybe the NBA's scoring leader and the player who also leads the league in field-goal attempts?

Kobe Bryant scored 38 points on 15-of-25 shooting from the field against the Clippers, and in 32 games, Bryant has shot the ball an amazing 700 times.

That type of number is sure to produce a very sore wrist from Bryant, and apparently some hurt feelings from Howard.

Clashes between Howard and Bryant were expected since Bryant's no-nonsense demeanor is a direct contrast to Howard's care-free, goofball attitude, but for the most part, both players have gone out of their way to play nice to each other.

There was the memorable flare-up against the New Orleans Hornets as Howard scolded Bryant for poor defense, but nothing that could really be perceived as either player being openly critical of each other.

Until now.

It's Nash's job to make sure all of the Lakers are happy and getting touches in the offense. Judging by his assists totals in the games since he returned from injury, it would seem that Nash has certainly been doing his job.

Nash has averaged nearly 10 assists per game in his past five contests, while Bryant has averaged 35 points on 24 shots per game during that span.

However, Howard has only averaged 15 points per game and nine shot attempts during that period.

Judging by those numbers, Howard may have a point. Even more so when you consider that unlike Kobe, Howard must depend on others to create his offense.

But ultimately, it's not Bryant's responsibility to make sure Howard receives more touches, or that the Lakers share the ball.

It's up to head coach Mike D'Antoni to design schemes that involve all the players on his roster, and it's up to Nash to execute those plans.

With Nash on board, Kobe's main responsibility as a Laker is to score the ball, and so far Bryant has done that better than any other player in the NBA.

The Lakers may indeed have a sharing problem, but Howard taking indirect shots at Bryant is not the solution considering Bryant no longer runs the Lakers offense.

If Howard is really concerned about the Lakers sharing the ball, there are other ways to voice that opinion besides criticizing the only player on the team who has played at an elite level the entire season.

For starters, Howard can begin by maximizing every possession in which he receives the ball in the paint. Learning a few post moves certainly wouldn't hurt.

And when the issue presents itself again, maybe Howard should direct his criticism at the persons who are directly responsible for involving him in the offense.