NBA Rumors: 5 Reasons Why Dwight Howard and the Lakers Are Not a Good Fit
After the colossal collapse by the Lakers in the 2011 Western Conference Semis and the lack of class and heart the team displayed during the series, speculation started immediately about who needed to be shipped out.
It makes perfect sense to make some moves now. The Lakers seem to be too old, too slow and too dysfunctional to make another run at a title. Lakers legend “Magic” Johnson even sounded off and encouraged management to blow the team up.
With an aging Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol seeming to regress in the playoffs, it might be a good idea to package some of the L.A. veterans and make a deal to bring in another superstar. The name most talked about in trade rumors is Orlando Magic, big man, Dwight Howard.
Howard can terminate his contract next season and it might be in Orlando's best interest to try and trade him now why they can get some value for him.
Howard has not commented publicly on his future but the assumption is he would welcome a trade to another team especially one with the talent and rich history that the Lakers have.
Although it seems to be a good fit on paper, Dwight Howard might not be the answer to the Lakers problems.
Here are five reasons why Dwight Howard and the Lakers are not a good fit.
5. Ghosts of Lakers Past
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I know what you’re saying, three straight titles and four Finals appearances. Despite the drama Kobe and Shaq got it done. But not so fast my friend. There was a whole lot of tension that resulted in one of the ugliest break ups in recent sports memory.
The aftermath resulted in the Lakers going from championship contenders to a reclamation project in one off-season.
Dwight Howard doesn’t seem to be anywhere near the ego maniac that Shaq was and Kobe is older, wiser and more mature. Nonetheless, Kobe and Shaq were brought in and grew up together in purple and gold. At the time, Shaq was the most dominant force in the NBA and Kobe was a unique but still unproven talent.
On the other hand, Howard and Bryant are both established stars and Kobe might not welcome a new dog in his house.
Mike Brown is going to have a hard enough time trying to get the Lakers to buy into his new system whatever that might be. Adding a new star the caliber of Howard would only complicate things further.
The Lakers are a veteran team whose offense goes through #24 and the only way that changes is if they’re willing to ship him out.
4. Learn from the Heat: Teams Win Championships
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Have we learned nothing from the Miami Heat? The greatest individuals win awards but the best teams generally win championships. Dallas beat both the Lakers and the Heat because they were more balanced and deeper, end of story.
Kobe is still good enough to get it done but not without some help. It makes more sense for the Lakers to add two or three pieces to the team than to try and build one from scratch.
The Lakers were competitive in the first three games of the series with the Mavericks and led late in both games one and three but Dallas won with a superior bench and a few late fourth quarter runs.
In order to correct that the Lakers may not need to add much. A younger point guard would help and another reliable wing player would be nice.
The Lakers are good enough to remain contenders in the west but they need a few additions put them back on top.
3. Not Worth the Risk
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Dismantling a team and trying to rebuild on the cuff is generally not the best way to achieve success. The Lakers would essentially be doing just that by bringing in Dwight Howard.
Assuming the Lakers would only have to give up one of their two big men (most likely Andrew Bynum) and Lamar Odom or Ron Artest, would they be any better off?
The Lakers are a veteran team and although they are getting older they still have many of the pieces in place to put together another championship run.
Adding Howard means the Lakers believe they can no longer win with the core group of players who’ve helped them win two of the last three NBA Finals.
Trading for Howard also eliminates any extra cap space the Lakers could use to improve their bench.
As it stands, the Lakers are a top five team and shaking their roster up might reap benefits but could also spell disaster. This team has two key weaknesses: perimeter speed and overall bench production. Dwight Howard is not the solution for either.
2. They Already Have Two Quality Big Men
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Los Angeles won back-to-back titles by bullying opponents in the paint and pounding them on the boards with Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum. However, when a team goes to a small lineup they essentially eliminate one of the Lakers big men. Dallas used this strategy to pick apart the Lakers in four games.
The dilemma for L.A. is Howard doesn’t give you anything new. He’d also limit the effectiveness of the Lakers other big men because they can’t always be on the floor at the same time.
Individually, Dwight Howard is no doubt better than both Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol, pairing him with either man would make the Lakers even better inside but wouldn’t help the Lakers perimeter defense or offense, two areas they struggled at in the playoffs.
Let’s assume the Lakers make a deal that allows them to acquire Howard and still keep Pau Gasol.
At 30, Gasol is the Lakers best big man and still has some quality years left. Howard is the better defender and rebounder but Gasol is a better passer and has a wider offensive repertoire. His career averages of 18.8 ppg and 9.1 rpg are on par with Howard’s 18.2 ppg and 12.9 rpg.
The Lakers have the best trio of big men when you add in Lamar Odom. They would be better served upgrading other areas on their roster. If they make any trade involving their big men it would be best to bring in a player who brings something different to the team.
1. They Need a Quality Point Guard
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The last time I checked the Lakers still had Kobe Bryant and he is still one of the best players in the game. Although Kobe is entering the twilight of his career this is still his team. If the Lakers want to keep it that way then they need to bring in players who can help compliment his game and take some of the load off his shoulders.
This past season Bryant was the Lakers points per game leader, no surprise there. Unfortunately for the Lakers, the 33-year-old was also their apg (assists per game) leader with 4.7.
Derek Fisher and Steve Blake are past their primes and the Lakers need a young player to rejuvenate and run the team.
Mike Brown’s first order of business should be to find a young point guard who can create shots for the rest of the team.
A trade for Raymond Felton, D.J. Augustine, Ramon Sessions or Mo Williams could give the Lakers an immediate upgrade at a position that badly needs it.
If the Lakers are set on trading one of their big men, a deal involving a superstar point guard like Chris Paul wouldn’t be a bad move either.