Over the weekend, rumors linking Dwight Howard to the Los Angeles Lakers were in full force, as multiple reports suggested that the team is willing to consider the former All-NBA center as a replacement for the injured DeMarcus Cousins. However, many of these reports also brought up Howard’s rough 2012-13 campaign with the Lakers, as well as the fact that he has played for five teams in the seven years since Los Angeles acquired him from the Orlando Magic in the summer of 2012. But how would Howard, who is now 33-years-old and fresh off a season where he missed all but nine games due to back problems, help the Lakers’ cause if they sign him?
On Sunday, Forbes’ Gabe Zaldivar analyzed the recent rumors of Howard rejoining the Lakers this summer, stressing early on that the eight-time All-Star big man is an “obvious bad idea” for the team. He further described Howard as a “moderate-risk to moderate-reward return” if the Memphis Grizzlies buy out his contract as expected and allow him to enter the free-agent pool, acknowledging that the 6-foot-11-inch center has been “motivated” and healthy since recovering from back surgery.
Despite his apparent eagerness to return to the court, Zaldivar warned that Howard has his share of drawbacks as a potential Lakers signee – he likely won’t put up big scoring numbers as an old-school big man who doesn’t have the outside shooting ability to space the floor like modern-day centers and power forwards do.
“What you might get is a motivated athlete who used to be a superstar in the league, offering tenacity and wisdom on the floor,” Zaldivar continued.
“That can certainly help fill in the gaps where this team needs it. The Lakers are in desperate need of a center who can log minutes and chip in doing the dirty work of cleaning up boards and affecting shots.”
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Assuming Howard is willing to sign a veteran’s minimum contract with the Lakers, Zaldivar further predicted that he could serve as a backup to JaVale McGee and a likely fourth or fifth offensive option when given playing time by the Lakers. However, he reiterated that Howard might have a hard time fitting in with the Lakers as a “static big man” who attempts more than 80 percent of his shots within 10 feet of the basket.
“In a league that is more and more about passing, spacing and being amenable to the long ball, Howard is an ancient relic.”
Summing the pros and cons of Dwight Howard potentially reuniting with the Los Angeles Lakers, Zaldivar concluded by saying that the “smart” thing to do may be to sign a player like Kenneth Faried, who played well for the Houston Rockets last season while their starting center, Clint Capela, was out with an injury. However, he stressed that there are several more important factors that would likely determine the Lakers’ success in the 2019-20 season, including, but not limited to the health of superstars LeBron James and Anthony Davis and whether forward Kyle Kuzma could make further strides in his third NBA season.