Dwight Howard and the Los Angeles Lakers reunited this past offseason, sparking joy and excitement by fans far and wide.
While Howard is not the same franchise-leading player he once was, his play in the frontcourt bench was crucial for the Lakers during their 2020 title run. His size, rebounding, and shot-blocking abilities helped the team establish a strong interior presence, giving them an edge against foes like Nikola Jokic, Jusuf Nurkic, and Bam Adebayo.
After a brief stint away from the Lakers, he has returned to reprise his role and already knows exactly what's expected of him.
“We know when we come in the game and it’s energy, effort and intensity,” Howard said, “and that’s what we plan to do as soon as we get out there: Play as hard as we can, and try to change the game with our effort, and I thought we did that tonight.”
Obviously, this Lakers team is different than the one Howard won a Chip with two seasons ago. They're older, more experienced, and still very much new to playing with each other. Still, they're going to need Howard just as much as they did before.
“Every game is gonna be different, but I want to beat them up in the paint,” Howard said. “If I’m in the paint, I do whatever I can to get offensive rebounds, get the other team in foul trouble, get them frustrated, and that’s my game. That’s what this team needs.”
With a completely rebuild roster, it's going to take some time for this squad to get things together. It always does.
But with LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Russell Westbrook, and, of course, Dwight Howard, they have a chance to really create something special this season.
Ultimately, we'll just have to wait and see how it all turns out.