Los Angeles Lakers: Post All-Star break player rankings

(Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images)
(Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images) /
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Los Angeles Lakers
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7.) Dwight Howard

On the flip side of Kyle Kuzma being the biggest disappointment for the Lakers this season, Dwight Howard has undoubtedly been the biggest surprise for the Lakers this season. After bouncing around the league for the past three seasons, Howard got a new lease on his career when the Lakers had to scramble and sign a big man in the wake of DeMarcus Cousins’ preseason ACL injury.

Understandably, a lot of Lakers fans got flashbacks of the ‘Dwightmare’ saga from his previous stint with the team back in 2013, but what has transpired instead is a complete 180 on how we view Howard.

On the season, Howard is averaging 7.8 points, 7.7 rebounds (2.6 offensive), and 1.3 blocks in only 19.7 minutes. He also has far and away the best FG% of anyone on the team, at an exceptional 74%. Obviously this has to do with receiving a steady diet of put-backs and lob dunks, but these are the types of shots that this Lakers offense is built to get.

His free-throw shooting still leave a lot to be desired, which opens the potential for ‘Hack-a-Shaq’ opportunities in the postseason, but Howard has attempted to combat that by switching up his free-throw routine, shooting from a few steps behind the free-throw line, which seems to have helped out a bit.

But overall, a lot of credit needs to be given to Howard, who started this season as a last minute center option, with a myriad of concerns from every corner of the NBA world, to one of the better backup big men in the league.