Slowly but surely Dwight Howard is coming around. He’s finally flashing the game we saw so much of in Orlando. But more importantly he’s finally fulfilling his duties as a potential franchise player.
Far too often this season Howard has moped and moaned whenever adversity has struck. And in a season when a team with title aspirations is below .500 and out of the playoff picture adversity has been plentiful.
Thankfully Howard is no longer shying away from tough topics like his health and conditioning. In fact, Howard has gone as far as to take the blame for many of the Lakers’ struggles this season.
“Coming off the injury, I only had four weeks to get ready for the season, which was training camp and then preseason. I didn’t really have a chance to really get in good shape. It’s hard trying to get in shape during the season playing a lot of minutes and traveling. I’m not even close. I used to play 45, 48 minutes without really getting tired. Now I have five possessions, I’m winded. I know I’m not there, but all that stuff will come. . . . I just know how much more effective I will be in better shape and that just comes with time. Unfortunately, it cost us a lot of games but we’ve got an opportunity to make history. I’m going to try and do whatever I can to help this team win.”
Adding to Howard’s thickening skin was his performance on Friday night against the Portland Trailblazers. Howard shrugged off another tweak to his shoulder and remained in the game despite the physical play by the Blazers. That might not have been the case just a couple weeks ago.
With everything about Howard being questioned from his toughness to his dedication it is nice to hear him give the company line. What D12 has hopefully learned is that even if he’s not sincere just saying the words will help to quiet the constant scrutiny. Then again, the only real cure is winning. And with Howard’s improved play there has been more winning than losing lately and that’s ultimately what matters.