Roundtable: Recapping the Dwightmare

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What are your thoughts on Dwight Howard in general? 

CC: I like Howard, always have. I don’t really know why, but I do. However, his recent stint with the Lakers sort of changed that. I know his back was injured, but it never felt like the right fit for Dwight. I also didn’t like the fact that he asked for Phil Jackson multiple times. You are in your first year with the team, and have a not so great reputation — you probably shouldn’t be asking for that kind of thing out of the front office. I do have an opinion that might not be shared a lot by other people. I gained some respect for Howard through his free agency process because he chose what was best for him, not what was best for his reputation. That, and the fact that he flew to L.A. to tell Mitch Kupchak his decision in person gained some points from me.

JR: Lakers fans knowingly ignored all the faults of Howard this season because he was a Laker. He complained, he was unreliable, and when the Lakers needed him in the playoffs, he disappeared. My opinion of Howard hasn’t changed since he joined the Lakers because I wasn’t a fan of him when he joined. He’s a player you want playing for your team on the court, but don’t want associated with your team off the court. That’s just the polarizing figure Howard is.

FR: I don’t think our opinion of Howard should change as he pretty much turned out to be what he was advertised to be, both as a person and player. As a person he was a guy that liked to have fun and carry a smile on his face whether the team was winning or getting their brains beat in. Howard is a sensitive individual that seemed to listen to all the chatter around him from the media and social media outlets. As a player, Howard was effective on offense despite being limited skill wise and still a premium defender and rebounder.

Apr 24, 2013; San Antonio, TX, USA; Los Angeles Lakers center Dwight Howard (12) dunks during game two of the first round of the 2013 NBA Playoffs against the San Antonio Spurs at AT

BB: Howard has shown himself to be someone who wants the ball to go through him, to be the franchise player, but without any of the responsibilities. This decision to join the Rockets could very well define his career. Yes, I wanted and hoped Howard would re-sign with the Lakers and become the next face of the franchise once Kobe retired. However, as it was becoming more and more apparent that wasn’t his desire, I, like most other fans, was more than ready to move on. I’m not calling him over-rated, but he now has enormous standards and expectations to live up to in order to justify the attention he has received the past 2+ years.

CL: As most Lakers fans can attest to, Dwight never felt 100% like a Laker. I’m sure part of this was due to his injury and subsequent recovery, but he didn’t bring the passion we have seen so many other greats bring for this storied franchise. When we first acquired Dwight, I felt he was the next center piece of the franchise. Watching him play, it never felt like this was the case. He isn’t a dominant offensive force, and seemed to want everything tailor-made to his liking. When Kobe played with Shaq, he sacrificed. When Pau played with Kobe, he sacrificed. Dwight never felt the need or desire to sacrifice.

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