Los Angeles Lakers: Player grades through All-Star break

(Photo by Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images)
(Photo by Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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Los Angeles Lakers
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6. Dwight Howard

Dwight Howard was not even on the Lakers radar until a DeMarcus Cousins torn ACL changed everything. Even the Lakers were interested in a few different centers before deciding on Howard with a partially guaranteed deal. There were a lot of doubts about Howard’s first Lakers stint in the 2012-13 season.

Through it all, it may turn out to be their best and most important signing. Howard has rejuvenated his game in Los Angeles and just like McGee has been one of the best bargains in the NBA. Howard’s prime is long gone, but you wouldn’t think that by seeing how effective his stats are.

In 20 minutes per night, he is shooting a whopping 73.8 percent from the floor. His eFG% of 74.5 percent and TS% of 69.5 percent are by far the highest of his career. He is also playing great basketball on both ends of the floor, registering a +8.1 net rating on the floor.

His WS/48 are the highest since his prime in Orlando and win shares and BPM are on track to be with his Orlando days. It’s incredible to see what he is doing and the result of his play is having on this Lakers team.

Howard was possibly out of basketball if not for an injury and he has seized his second chance. Him and McGee have created a great 1-2 punch at center and are both having monster effects on the Lakers team play. Center has been a weakness for a long time and they’re ending that notion now.

Howard’s degreased minutes have also led to increased health. His per-36 minute rebound total of 14.2 is also the third-highest of his career and beats all of his prime Orlando days. He will be a huge part of the Lakers rotation in the playoffs with a bump in minutes.

Howard has been everything and more for the Lakers. It’s nice to see what he is providing and there is more he can do as well.

Grade: A