Russell Westbrook-era Lakers would sweep Kevin Durant-era Warriors if all players were in prime, says Dwight Howard

Jesse Cinquini
3 Min Read
Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

Former Los Angeles Lakers big man Dwight Howard — who was an important piece of L.A.’s 2020 title team — believes that a Lakers team he was part of would sweep the 2018-19 Golden State Warriors if all players were in their prime years.

Howard is referring to the 2021-22 iteration of the Lakers, whose roster was filled with players who were some of the best talents in the league at the height of their powers — though not necessarily at the time the roster was built.

Carmelo Anthony, Russell Westbrook, Rajon Rondo, Anthony Davis, DeAndre Jordan and Russell Westbrook were all on the team for at least part of the season along with LeBron James, and all of those players made at least one All-Star appearance during their playing days.

But the 2018-19 iteration of the Warriors stacks up with the 2021-22 Lakers in terms of star power. For example, Golden State boasted a starting lineup of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, DeMarcus Cousins and Kevin Durant. Every player from that team’s starting five has a chance to be enshrined in the Hall of Fame in the future, though Cousins’ odds are long.

Outside of Golden State’s starting lineup, Andre Iguodala was also a member of the team, and he was a great player on both ends of the floor during his heyday as a member of the Philadelphia 76ers organization. Iguodala earned one All-Star nod and averaged 17-plus points per game on four separate occasions during his time in Philadelphia.

It’s worth noting that the Lakers squad in question was a major disappointment in reality, with the team posting a losing record and failing to reach the playoffs. Meanwhile, the Warriors team in question reached the NBA Finals but lost.

Howard spent three seasons of his NBA career with the Lakers, and across 205 regular-season appearances with the team and three separate stints, he averaged 10.7 points per game while shooting an efficient 61.6 percent from the floor to go along with 8.8 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per contest.

By far Howard’s best season as a Laker came in the 2012-13 campaign. He played in 76 games during the regular season and averaged 17.1 points and a league-high 12.4 rebounds per game.

While NBA fans will never be able to see the 2018-19 Warriors play the 2021-22 Lakers with all players in their prime years, the hypothetical matchup would seemingly make for a very entertaining series.

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Jesse is a sports journalist with extensive experience covering the NBA. He has worked as a staff writer covering the Lakers’ dreaded rivals, the Boston Celtics, for SB Nation. He has also covered the New York Knicks for The Knicks Wall.