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The Dwightmare has become a Dweam

You have to feel for Dwight Howard, because he’s entering a situation that’s a true no-win

A lot has been written about the lineage of Mikan/Wilt/Kareem/Shaq and now Pau and Bynum (which with all his injuries and bad attitudes, he did play a part in 2 rings) so I’m not going to do that. We all know the jerseys on the wall.

Dwight is walking into a dream situation. He’s playing on the most talented team he’s ever been on, by quite some distance. He’s flawed, but in LA he’ll only be asked to do the things he does on an elite level; defend, rebound and score on pick and rolls. He’s playing with, in my book, the second best pick and roll point guard of all time, Steve Nash. He’ll have the best passing big man in the game playing the high post. He has, even still, as good a scorer as theres ever been on the wing. He has a tough minded defender at the 3. I don’t feel any team and any superstar player fit together better than Dwight on this LA team.

Unfortunately for a man of his temperament, his team now has expectations

He’s expected to win while Steve Nash and Kobe are still playing. In my math, that means he probably has to win 2 of the next 3. In a league with Lebron and Durant, that means he needs to be unquestionably great. He needs to widen the gap between him and the rest of the big men in the game. He needs to become so dominant, that Kobe has no choice but to recognize him as “the man.” I believe he can do it, but it’ll mean being less of a nice guy, and letting some of that classic Bryant “winning is everything” stank rub off on him.

Historically, the only thing that combats great wing players, is having the best man in the middle

Through the 60′s, how many championships did Russell keep West from winning? Dwight was able to beat Lebron in the playoffs when both had no supporting cast. LBJ got it together and won his last year and now Dwight has (on paper, to me) the best team in the league. Can he cash in while these guys can still stay on the floor?

I love the Gasol/Howard pairing. I loved watching these guys play against each other in the 2009 finals, and I get the feeling that I’m going to love watching a rejuvenated olympic-level Gasol playing next to the best center of his generation. Can you imagine the matchup problems a big/big screen and roll can create? We have the only 7 footer able to make those kinds of passing decisions, and he’s playing with the best 7 footer to finish those plays. I couldn’t be more excited.

Back to the beginning of this piece though, Howard has to win

I’ve only known one player to leave LA in free agency, AC Green. …I still don’t know why he did that.”

– Mitch Kupchak

Howard isn’t going to resign, I’m not worried about that. Like Kupchak said in an interview right after the press conference, “I’ve only known one player to leave LA in free agency, AC Green. …I still don’t know why he did that.” So all thats left is to play the games, pray for the guys to get spared injury, and see what happens. I think, in 8 or 9 years, the Lakers will be retiring his jersey. Thats what happens when great big men land in LA. Make us proud Dwight.

Comments

  1. Andy Starr says:

    If Howard is 100% healthy he has a chance to have the best year of his career. In Orlando he was a magnet for defense, because there were no viable options that would distract defenders. He had to carry the Magic, now he’s closer to the 3rd/4th option on offense. This extends to the rest of the Lakers too – with a better team, more options, everyone’s job gets easier because the defense has to extend.

    The Lakers have so many weapons that defenses will be scrambling to decide who to cover. I doubt he’ll see very many double-teams – because who ya’ gonna leave open? Kobe? Nash? Gasol? Metta?…ok, well maybe Metta. ;-) The chance for give and go’s with Gasol and Howard will be nutzo. I put the over/under at 5 alley-oops per game coming from Gasol to Howard.

    Speed will be the biggest hurdle (and Howard helps with that) for LA this year. That’s the only way I see someone like Miami giving them trouble. Kobe, Nash, Gasol, and Metta are all just recently out of their prime. Skills are still there, but the athleticism isn’t what it used to be.

    For Nash this will be tough, the NBA is a point guard heavy world now. Each night he’ll be seeing Chris Paul, Derrick Rose, Rajon Rondo, Tony Parker, Russel Westbrook…ugh. Howard will need to provide serious backup to slow the little guys down and prevent penetration.