The Los Angeles Lakers are on a championship hunt this season, and center Dwight Howard understands the urgency of the franchise to get back to its winning ways.
When asked to discuss his fit with this team, Howard told NBA insider Shams Charania that he has to be adaptable.
“It is either adapt and change or get left behind.”
— Stadium (@Stadium) October 28, 2019
“It is either adapt and change or get left behind,” Howard told Charania. “A lot of times, a lot of the players who didn’t play as long as they wanted to, they didn’t adapt, and they didn’t change to fit whatever the team needs. And I think that’s what you have to do and I think that’s what I had to learn how to really just focus on adapting to this new era of basketball.”
The 6-foot-10 center returned to the Lakers this summer after DeMarcus Cousins went down with an ACL injury that is expected to keep him out for much of the season. Though he has much to make up for after a drama-filled 2012-13 season with the Purple and Gold, Howard believes he has nothing to prove.
“There is nothing I need to prove to anybody,” the 33-year-old veteran said. “How I know how to play this game — I don’t have to prove that. I enjoy this game. I have played it my whole life. I have played for 30 years, so it’s understanding how I could make everybody around me better. That’s my only focus.”
Though many of his former teams relied on him to score quite a bit, Howard realizes that there are other priorities for him this time around.
“Just scoring and stuff, that’s great,” Howard added. “I know that can happen. I know that there will be times during the season when that will be needed. But how can I be the most effective on the defensive end? And then on offense, just making sure that I get everybody involved, get everybody shots so they feel comfortable with their role.”
In three games for the Lakers, Howard is averaging 7.0 points, 7.7 rebounds and 2.3 blocks in only 20.3 minutes per game. Despite career-lows in scoring, rebounding and minutes played, his blocks average is his highest since the 2012-13 season, ironically.
It’s early in the 2019-20 season, but Howard appears to more comfortable playing for the Lakers than the last time he wore the team’s colors.