The 15-21 Lakers have been abused by opponents this season, as their interior and transition defense have both been invisible while crucial stars Steve Nash and Howard have been battling injury, that is, for most of the season.
Los Angeles' struggles this season have resulted in a multitude of trade rumors and speculation surrounding Howard, whom some fear is on pace to start another Dwightmare in L.A.
Before we grab our pitchforks and torches and send D-12 packing for the East Coast, why don't we think about this rationally?
Let us first address the possible beef between Howard and Kobe Bryant.
As we all know, Kobe isn't exactly the easiest fellow to get along with, am I wrong?
Despite a tumultuous relationship between Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal, the pair still won three consecutive NBA titles together and is still regarded as one of the deadliest center-guard combinations in the history of the league.
Yes, eventually the sour relationship led to O'Neal being shipped to the Miami Heat, but the two were still able to put differences aside and make NBA history.
I'm still not sure what to make of the relationship between Bryant and Howard, but it seems as though Kobe is handling it just fine (via Twitter):
The mamba vs d12 !! It's on lol twitter.com/kobebryant/sta…— Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) January 7, 2013
Secondly, how would trading arguably the best center in the game right now help a team that has a nonexistent interior defense when Howard isn't on the floor?
D-12 is currently nursing an ailing shoulder injury, but when on the floor, Howard has been as solid as anyone this year.
His 12.4 RPG lead the NBA while his 2.64 blocks per contest rank fourth in the NBA and his 17.3 PPG are second on the Lakers only to Bryant (30 PPG).
When Metta World Peace is your third-leading scorer and you've got Steve Nash and Pau Gasol on the roster, your franchise has bigger issues than your dominating center.
The Lakers rank 26th in the league in points against (102.1), so how will dealing the three-time defensive player of the year benefit Los Angeles?
Everyone knows Mike D'Antoni's system isn't built to defend, which is why having a defensive talent like Howard is a godsend for L.A.
I'm certainly not saying Howard is going to save the Lakers' season this year, but he's definitely not the one who's killing it.
Follow me on Twitter: Follow @Pete_Schauer