Dwight Howard of the Los Angeles Lakers has been playing fantastic in his first six games with the team. He is making the most of his time with the team and redeeming himself for his former tenure with the Lakers. In fact, he is playing like a quality NBA starter. But what are Howard’s chances of starting? Although he isn’t getting as many minutes as he was when he was in his prime, he is still playing phenomenally in his role. Howard is averaging the second-most blocks on the team, behind Anthony Davis, as well as the fifth-most blocks in the league. Howard averages the highest field goal percentage on the team as well, clocking in at 79.2 percent.
Dwight Howard’s Presence on the Court
It’s no secret that Howard has been playing at a fantastic level for the Lakers. He has been backing up JaVale McGee on the team, but still averaging more minutes. Howard is averaging more minutes for good reason, too. He has the statistics to back it up. Over the past four games, Howard has gone 17-18 from the field and scoring nine points per game. Although the point totals don’t jump out of the stat sheet, Howard is playing his role correctly. His role isn’t to put up 25 points per game anymore like it was with the Orlando Magic. In those four appearances, Howard has also totaled 36 rebounds and blocked 11 shots.
His presence isn’t only on the stat sheet either. Howard makes a great leader on the floor, being a vocal player as well as an experienced veteran. The Lakers are filled with veterans but also have a few young guys on the team, such as Kyle Kuzma. Kuzma will be able to learn a lot on the defensive end from the two powerhouse bigs, Howard and Davis. Howard’s presence on the floor means that there is an extra level of defense down low on an already loaded defensive team.
Dwight Howard’s Probability of Starting
So far, the Lakers have had Howard backing up McGee for two different reasons. One, Howard’s minutes are much needed off the bench, especially in the first few games where Kuzma was not present. On top of that, Howard is able to finish games well-rested. Howard coming off the bench means that the Lakers can stick him in the game in the final few minutes with as much energy as possible. The Lakers coach, Frank Vogel, has done a fantastic job at rotations so far this season.
As for Howard’s chances of starting? It’s a good guess that Coach Vogel will say no. As said before, the Lakers are doing great with their rotations so far this season. And things seem to be clicking on all cylinders. The Lakers are 5-1 to start the season (and some fans argue they would be undefeated if they had chemistry against the Clippers), and they don’t seem to be slowing down anytime shortly. If Vogel is a smart coach, he will stick to what is working best. Howard’s minutes off the bench are unmatchable with the current talent they have. And being able to finish games with two powerhouse defensive bigs is even better. Having Howard come off the bench is arguably the best idea the Lakers have had so far this season, and changing that would be a very bold move.
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