In recent footage, new Los Angeles Lakers center Dwight Howard is shown practicing the 3-point shot with a certain degree of success.
With Cousins, they thought to have finally replaced the stretch-5 they had lost when they irresponsibly let Brook Lopez go. Despite the possible All-Star potential the front office was counting on, the certainty DMC was bringing with him was to stretch the floor at the center position, granting LeBron James and Anthony Davis the necessary space to operate in the paint.
The torn ACL he suffered took away this possibility from Lakers’ offense. To replace him they signed veteran Dwight Howard, who brought with him a much more needed defensive presence in the paint. That is fundamental to face top teams like the Philadelphia 76ers and Denver Nuggets, featuring All-Star centers Joel Embiid and Nikola Jokic.
Anyway, in these last years, all the big men had to adapt to the new game and start shooting from three. Even someone like Dwight Howard, who was deeply affected by this evolution, showed some progression and a mid-range acquaintance in his last seasons with the Atlanta Hawks and the Charlotte Hornets.
In the most recent footage of his workouts, Howard is shown practicing the 3-pointer and hitting it at some good rate.
It remains to be seen if the Lakers still desire to deploy a center who stretches the floor, and in such case, we should ask ourselves if they will green-light JaVale McGee, who already showed some range in the past, and Howard to fire.
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The stretch-4 has become an indispensable piece of the game of basketball and the stretch-5 is on its way to follow that same path. It is not possible to imagine a team in the near future deprived of it. Especially when you possess a player who excels in driving to the basket and kicking it out to shooters on the arc. Just look at the Milwaukee Bucks and the success they had this past season with Brook Lopez.
So far, the Lakers do not possess a real shooter in their big man department unless they decide to deploy Anthony Davis at the five for long stretches, which does not seem the case according to what heard so far.
Shooting in practice is not like doing it in a game, but certainly, it can be an indicator of how Howard’s skill has progressed and how affordable it might be.
Of course, he would not be asked to attempt six threes per game, but in some situations, it would reveal a useful weapon and, most importantly, make defenses aware of such threat and force them to make choices according to it.