The world does not move unless someone is making a brash prediction about the Lakers team that seems to be floating among the midst of mediocrity. Howard is only one of latest victims, and it seems easy to jump on that bandwagon. However, the Lakers should say goodbye to the thought of recruiting the NBA’s most valuable big man.
Sharing the Paint
Howard would complement the team’s needs without a doubt, but do the Lakers need to play footsies with another big man when they cannot let go of the Bynum experiment? Letting Lamar Odom free does not seem like a viable option, even though his contributions failed in comparison to Bynum’s.
Howard is not prepared to go into another situation where he would have to tangle with a system that would not suit his paint dominance. He has shaped and shifted his game perfectly and would be turned off by the thought of someone else sharing the low post alongside him.
The Orlando Magic have given him the opportunity to be the team’s ultimate finisher around the hoop. In Los Angeles, he would have to contend with Bynum, Gasol and Odom for that rim dynamic.
If Phil Jackson had still been the Lakers head coach, I think Howard would come signed, sealed and delivered. Since that is no longer a factor in LA’s organization, Howard may think twice about the move. Jackson would have molded his play-calling to complete the needs and expectations of all of his key men.
The new coach may not be as skilled at managing the personalities that superstars bring to the table. Dwight Howard seems far from high maintenance but has never failed to voice his opinion on his coaching staff either. A new coach means a new system and the change in a ship that once ran perfectly does not seem all that attractive.
A Superstar Over the Hill
Kobe Bryant is aging, as much as analysts and fans would hate to admit. At 32, Bryant is not barreling down the court at the consistency he did when he was wearing jersey No. 8.
His shape-shifting abilities at the rim are unseen and have been for a while now. Shielded from reality, the Lakers front office hoped that he would be able to carry the team on his shoulders.
What they did not count on was the youth of Dallas shining through their old bones and a tremendous three-point performance from Jason Terry and Peja Stojokovic.
The age of the NBA is dawning where you cannot survive as the lone superstar. There needs to be adequate support standing beside these men, or they will get to the promise land and drop the ball.
LeBron understood that, so he traveled all the way from Cleveland to Miami. Carmelo understood the status of the superstar tandems, so he headed back home with his wife LaLa to Knick land. Dwight Howard would have loved to play alongside the more explosive Kobe, but the truth is that he just is not that guy anymore.
If you haven’t watched the entire basketball season, you may not understand where the concern is stemming from. His numbers are consistent with excellence, but the box scores do not tell the whole truth. Kobe is resorting to shooting outside of the three-point arc more and more, which would be solid if that was a part of his overall game.
He arrived at the status of greatness that he sits at today from being able to take a man-on-man defense and fly past him for the basket. Bryant is not a pure shooter, and resorting to a Dirk-type game will make him appear more and more brittle as the seasons move on.
Howard Likes to Be Liked
Everyone saw what happened after The Decision. LeBron James went from being the nation’s beloved rising star to be one of the most hated athletes in the world. People looked at him as a villain and a coward after he decided to take his talents anywhere other than back home in Cleveland, Ohio.
How he announced his decision could have been done differently, but his decision was based on a need to win. He relinquished the fact that people would smile in his direction when he visited his hometown. By any means necessary, he would arrive at the goal of winning.
Dwight Howard, on the other hand, would despise being looked at as the world’s punching bag. He is a people type of person, and rarely is there a time when he is caught without a smile on his face.
That is, unless his team is losing at the moment. Other than those small mishaps, Howard is often seen joking with his teammates and with the fans of Orlando.
The world will look at him with their noses turned up if he leaves Florida, and he is just not ready to face that type of music. If he went to play alongside another hated figure in Kobe Bryant, the media would have a field day questioning both players’ resumes without each other, just as they did to LeBron James and Dwyane Wade.
It does not matter who the teammate is, the Lakers seem to be certain of off-court drama on a consistent basis. Seeing their collapse in the second round was painful enough without reports swirling of a factor outside of the game affecting the timid Pau Gasol.
The team does not have the ability to bounce back from personal life encounters and focus on the game when necessary. It showed in their faces and more importantly in their body language towards the opposing team. Dwight Howard is an easygoing player and would not feel comfortable being thrown in the fire amongst the wolves.
It would be delightful to see Dwight play in purple and gold, but I do not think that would be the best decision for him to make. I have a strong feeling he does not either.