2019-20 Lakers Season Preview: Dwight Howard

2018-19 NBA Season Review

The last few seasons have been tumultuous for Dwight Howard. After leaving the Orlando Magic to come to the Los Angeles Lakers prior to the 2012-13 NBA season, Howard has found himself on seven different rosters in as many seasons. He has spent time on the court with five with the Brooklyn Nets and Memphis Grizzlies being the exceptions.

Howard’s most recent playing time came with the Washington Wizards where he played just nine games as he dealt with injuries all season. Somehow, despite everything surrounding Howard, he managed to remain a serviceable NBA center, averaging 12.8 points and 9.2 rebounds.

Howard’s last successful stint was with the Charlotte Hornets two seasons ago where he saw a mini-rejuvenation, averaging 16.6 points, 12.5 rebounds, and 1.6 blocks. After being traded to the Grizzlies and almost immediately cut, Howard found himself signing a one-year, non-guaranteed deal with the Lakers that will pay him just $14,500 for every day he stays on the team’s roster following Oct. 22.

2019-20 NBA Season Outlook

How Howard winds up looking with the Lakers is entirely dependent upon him. If Howard brings back the motivation he had back with the Magic and matches it with the talent he maintained with the Hornets, the Lakers may have walked away with one of the bargains of the offseason.

However, Howard does have a tendency to say all the right things when the pressure is not on him to perform. The Lakers signed Howard after DeMarcus Cousins suffered a torn ACL and found himself in some legal trouble, which means they expect him and JaVale McGee to split minutes at the center position in head coach Frank Vogel’s system.

McGee simply does not have the stamina to be a 30-minute per game center, so it will be up to Howard to make sure the team is in good hands down low when he comes out. Right now, it is up in the air on who will start on Opening Night.

If Howard starts, he will have to prove he is capable of that role on a team with real championship aspirations. He has not played for a real contender since his time with the Houston Rockets. However, if Howard comes off the bench, he will need to prove he is truly comfortable doing that.

Despite all of the individual accolades, this is perhaps Howard’s final chance to prove he has truly changed.