Howard’s critical remarks came after the team suffered a disappointing loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Jan. 4.
"Those guys on the Clippers team, they really enjoy each other off the court and it shows," Howard said Saturday, according to Ramona Shelburne of ESPN Los Angeles.
The Clippers survived a couple of runs by the Lakers and a late push to sneak away with a 107-102 victory. It was a regular-season home game for the Clips but seemed more like a changing of the guard to many of the local onlookers.
"Look at the difference between our team and theirs," Howard said, according to Royce Young of CBSSports.com. "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."
Howard’s Lakers are struggling, and the team’s offense is slowly degenerating back to the “Kobe Bryant Show.”
Or is it?
Bryant’s statistical handling of the ball, as Young points out, is nowhere near exceeding his marks in the past. In fact, he is averaging about one shot less per game than he did last season.
If it’s not Kobe’s fault for living up to the “ball hog” stigma he’s carried with him throughout his career, then it has to be something else ailing the Lakers.
Chemistry is a good place to start, as Howard points out.
Head coach Mike D’Antoni concurs, but thinks that there are some extenuating circumstances that have hampered the team’s progress in that department, according to Shelburne:
I don't know if it's because of a lack of training camp, or a lack of Steve being with us from the beginning, but the relationship between Steve and Dwight's got to get a lot better. It's not creating the easy shots that we need.
But at what point does talking to the media about internal issues become more of a detriment than a solution to the problem?
Wouldn’t Howard’s efforts be better served in building those relationships with his teammates?
You can’t force personal cohesion and interaction and you can’t make people like one another.
What you can do is come to some kind of professional understanding that says that the team isn’t going to run and point fingers in the media when things get tough.
This Lakers team has a lot of growing to do, as individuals and as a team.
Let’s see what they’re made of.