Dwight Howard’s first stint with the Los Angeles Lakers turned out to be a miserable experience for all involved.
However, the fact that his former teammate, Kobe Bryant, is predicting good things for the veteran center upon his return to the team resulted in Howard showing appreciation for that support.
— Stadium (@Stadium) September 26, 2019
The 33-year-old Howard is set to begin his 16th NBA season and is undoubtedly looking to erase the memory of the 2012-13 season. That was when his arrival turned out to a precursor to a chaotic campaign.
Howard had spent the first eight seasons of his NBA career with the Orlando Magic before being dealt to the Lakers. Undergoing offseason back surgery in 2012, Howard ended up playing in 76 games for the Lakers that season, missing some games due to a shoulder injury.
During that one season with the team, he clashed with Bryant, who indicated his main problem with Howard during an interview with ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan.
“Dwight worries too much about what people think,” Bryant said. “I told him, ‘You can’t worry about that. It’s holding you back.’ He says, ‘OK, OK, OK,’ but it’s always hovering around him.
“He just wants people to like him. He doesn’t want to let anyone down, and that gets him away from what he should be doing.”
Howard and Bryant appear to have patched things up, which coupled with Howard’s motivation for this season, allows him to enter the 2019-20 season in a positive frame of mind. The fact that Howard has played for four teams during the past four seasons indicates that this could be his last chance at making a major contribution to his team.
While the Lakers have players like LeBron James and Anthony Davis to provide leadership, Howard’s presence is especially needed following the DeMarcus Cousins injury. As a veteran who’s seen plenty of highs and lows over his career, any leadership he brings will be a welcome contribution.