According to Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times, D12 is looking for more touches in the early portion of his team’s contests—a philosophy he hopes will jump-start his offense and production.
On Saturday, Howard commented: "For a lot of us bigs...give us some food, we're good. We don't eat, we're grumpy."
Howard was speaking shortly after a much-needed 102-84 win over the Utah Jazz—a game in which the big man connected on 8-of-12 shot attempts and grabbed 13 rebounds. He has finally found something that works, and he must ride it out.
It's great with me and Pau [Gasol] working together and the inside-out attack. The game is a lot easier that way when we're attacking the rim. Then Kobe can get his jump shots off when he needs and he's not working so much to get his shot off. It's just better for our team.
Because the Lakers center took eight shots in the first eight minutes, he felt involved in the game plan and worked hard for the rest of his 29 minutes he was out on the floor.
His teammates, notably point guard Steve Nash and leading scorer Kobe Bryant, must recognize that the squad found success with Howard being the focal point of the offense, running plays through him in the first few minutes.
Coach Mike D’Antoni can scale things back from the paint and work his shooting-oriented offense. D12 will be motivated to cut to the lane and crash the offensive glass upon getting his touches.
One thing to watch out for is Howard getting tired, as he conceded he was spent by the time he hit the bench with just over two minutes left in the first quarter (as per Bresnahan):
I've never been tired in the first quarter of games in my whole career. But all that stuff comes with time. I can't give in to being tired. That's fatigue from sitting out for five months. It's conditioning.
It’s up to Coach D’Antoni to massage his center’s minutes, find a way to get him involved in the early going and keep Howard running the inside-out offense whenever he’s out on the court.
Howard has made a great call in letting the public and his teammates know what he needs. Now it's up to the rest of the L.A. roster and coaching staff to make it happen.