LeBron James Raves About Dwight Howard in His Revamped Role for Lakers

Robert Marvi
3 Min Read

During Dwight Howard’s first stint with the Los Angeles Lakers seven years ago, he reportedly refused to play the type of role then-coach Mike D’Antoni envisioned.

But this season, the three-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year has been getting rave reviews from his Lakers teammates for playing his proper role.

This includes rave reviews from his most important teammate.

“Throughout Dwight’s career, he’s been a guy you bring the ball down and you throw to him in the post and everybody works off of him,” teammate LeBron James said. “Now he’s a screener. He’s a roller. He’s a guy who facilitates the offense if you pass it in to him. He gets the ball to the guards and he waits for his opportunities and he’s basically been great in that role. And that’s all just about growth mind-set. And that’s for the whole team.”

A featured offensive player throughout his career, Howard has accepted a drastically reduced role on offense. Instead of demanding the ball often, he’s remade himself into a strong interior defender, rim protector and rebounder.

Through 21 games, Howard is averaging 6.9 rebounds and 1.4 blocked shots per game in 19.9 minutes.

But on offense, he’s getting some of the easiest looks of his life, and he’s taking advantage to the tune of a ridiculous 73.8 shooting percentage.

Many of those made field goals have come on lobs, offensive rebounds and broken plays in the paint.

“He gives us a lob threat at the rim,” James said. “He puts pressure on the defense, gives us extra possessions. He can block shots and is able to battle on the post against certain bigs. He was a big lift for us tonight.”

In the Lakers’ 105-96 win against the Denver Nuggets on Tuesday, Howard had 13 points, six rebounds and two blocks.

With Howard playing the way he has and gaining the love and respect of the fans who once booed him vociferously, maybe the DeMarcus Cousins ACL injury was a blessing in disguise for the Purple and Gold.

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Robert is a native of Santa Monica, Calif., and a graduate of the University of California, Santa Barbara. He has been an avid NBA fan since he was a little kid in the mid '90s and fell in love with the Nick Van Exel-led Lakers teams. He truly cherishes the Kobe Bryant-era of Lakers basketball and the five world championships that came with it, and is looking forward to the team's next NBA title.