Sunday, January 6th, 2013 at 3:00 pm  |  49 responses

Dwight Howard Says the Los Angeles Lakers Have Bad Team Chemistry

The Lakers’ problems on the court are evident: they are old and slow, have trouble defending most teams, the bench is awful, and some of the key players (Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol) are hurt and/or don’t know what their roles truly are. According to Howard, the team also has issues off the court, when it comes to basic things such as liking one another. Per the OC Register and LA Daily News: “Jordan Hill lay on the court Friday night for several moments after injuring his right ankle. Alone. None of his teammates came over to check on him. Dwight Howard said it’s that kind of chemistry, or lack of, the Lakers seem to be missing. It’s the kind of team chemistry he witnessed up close on the Clippers bench. ‘Those guys on the Clippers team, they really enjoy each other off the court and it shows,’ he said after the game. On Saturday, Howard said the Lakers need to play ‘like we like each other. Even if we don’t want to be friends off the court, whatever that may be, when we step in between the lines or we step in the locker room or the gym, we have to respect each other and what we bring to the table. It really starts off the court. I think you have to have that relationship and that chemistry off the court for it to really blossom on the court. It takes time to develop that. You just don’t come together and then expect to be best friends right away. It just doesn’t happen like that.’ Mike D’Antoni, who called the Hill incident ‘a lapse’ said he didn’t like all his teammates over the years, but learned to respect them on the court. ‘I don’t think you have to love each other, but you have to respect each other with what they do on the court,’ D’Antoni said.

Plenty point to the Lakers three-peat years during the 2000-2002 seasons as evidence that chemistry can be overblown. Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal won such titles despite having an ongoing adversarial relationship. [...] And how did Bryant and O’Neal manage to make it work? ‘We did. We won three straight,’ Bryant said. ‘One of them has to sacrifice. I sacrificed quite a bit with individual numbers and MVPs and NBA Finals and all this other stuff. Phil (Jackson) used to come to us as a team and let me take over in the march to the Finals. Then in the Finals against Eastern Conference teams that didn’t have any centers, we went through Shaq. Those are things I was willing to sacrifice. You have to have that sacrifice to make that dynamic work.’ But Bryant doesn’t see similarities between his dynamic with O’Neal and Howard. ‘It’s not the same thing. On that team, it was me and Shaq and role players, who were excellent role players. Here, it’s me, Dwight, Steve (Nash) and Pau (Gasol). We play to each other’s strengths. Steve is the best facilitating guard. Pau is the best facilitating big man. The ball goes through those guys, and it allows them to make everybody better. It’s really that simple.’”

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  • shockexchange

    Does anyone else notice how Rent-A-Center willingly discusses everything other than when he’s going to re-sign with the Lakers?

  • chicago

    though, there may be truth to what he’s saying, Dwight just needs to stop talking.

  • bill

    It’s stupid to bring up the Shaq yrs as an example of winning with bad team chemistry. At that point in his career you could’ve put Shaq on a CYO team and he would’ve won titles.

  • shockexchange


  • Jimbo

    Thanks tips

  • Dutch Rich

    Probably best he lives in the moment for winning column’s sake. And I doubt BK would be remotely interested in his services. We forget that after rehab Dwight is a spec of his usual self, missed camp and is in no game shape. Lakers have an amazing core, just need better surrounding pieces, given the depth of other contending teams. He does deserve to be addressed by his given name though, don’t you think.

  • shockexchange

    Until he re-signs, he’s simply a “Rent-A-Center.”

  • Redd

    ..he’s still the best center in the NBA. But the Nets resigned Lipez they won’t go after Howard either way.

  • shockexchange

    “.. he’s still the best center in the NBA” based on present or past performance? It sucks that he’s not 100% but it is what it is.

  • http://www.facebook.com/francis.aboy Francis Aboy

    If you want people to trust you or love you you need to be honest and be dedicated to them.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=509819249 Gaurav P.

    …yeah, except that Shaq didn’t win any titles in his other prime years (1999, 1998, 1997) until Phil Jackson pushed him to another level, and Kobe developed into an elite player. I’m not sure if you actually watched the Lakers during their three-peat years, but contrary to popular belief, Bryant played a huge role in the Lakers winning those rings. His series numbers and overall impact in the Western Conference battles in those years attest to that point.

    Its annoying that people honestly believe Shaq could have won with anybody. If that was the case, he would have won titles with Penny – they had a pretty good team. Even more glaringly, why didn’t he win in those years when Kobe wasn’t an elite player (pre-2000)? The Lakers just kept getting swept by inferior teams.

    *I’m not* saying Shaq doesn’t deserve praise and that he’ wasn’t the primary reason for the Lakers winning – he was. But the influence of PJ’s coaching and Kobe’s transition into an elite player cannot be understated.

  • shockexchange

    Shaq led the Magic to the finals with Penny and some other inexperienced players. If he had stayed in Orlando they would have won it eventually. Horry Jr was nothing more than Shaq’s “hype man.” Now go run tell that.

  • The Philosopher


  • monkeyball

    Too true. Shaq/Kobe Lakers were swept out of the playoffs in 98 and 99, beat badly in the 03 WCF and 04 Finals.

    As to Bryant’s rewriting of history – “I sacrificed for the team” – that’s bull. He fought the coaches and Shaq every step of the way.

  • Dutch Rich

    You might be right as he’s still solid in several categories and his points might get an uptick with Nash back in the line-up. Visually his performances have been hard to digest though, knowing what he’s capable off and with the work he supposedly put in with Hakeem.

  • Dutch Rich

    It’s starting to grow on me now.

  • bill

    Shaq wasn’t in his prime in Orlando. Ya didn’t know?

    In his prime he could’ve won with the Warriors of that time.

  • shockexchange


  • Dutch Rich

    I beg to differ and say that Shaq never fully reached his prime.

  • Luminous Music

    Meh. I try to think nice thoughts about the Lakers until one of them opens their mouth…
    Dwight “we hate each other”
    Kobe “sacrificesacrificesacrifice…steve & pau pass it to me, its simple!”

  • bigA

    I guess if being “Shaq’s “hype man”" means being an elite player aka beasting assassin, you are right!
    You see as a good player I can appreciate great players.

  • Dymez

    You and these nicknames, man. Lmao!

  • shockexchange

    Curious, when the Shock Exchange referenced “Horry Jr” how did you know who he was talking about?

  • Redd

    based on what we know he can do & what is causing him to under perform.

  • Redd

    True, he’s been bad & there’s no denying if we’re purely discussing the Center position, I’d go David Lee. Pure Center I’d go Joakim.

  • Dutch Rich

    Joakim has been solid and should have had a place in the Slam top 50 IMO. He changed the whole mentality in the Chi. He’s a winner. Many credit Thibbs only, but I think Jo has a lot to do with their consistent success over the years during coaching changes and Rose in and out. But I guess with his shooting form that will never happen. It’s all about appearance I guess.

  • http://twitter.com/KingofKushSmoke PimpMaster of yo Hoe

    I guess dwight hasnt done enough in this league to earn Kobes off court coversation. Just ask smush.

  • Redd

    His shooting is actually pretty good for a pure center but yeah he’s been big.

  • Paul Miller

    I’m sure he’ll get it regardless, and although Howard does put up some great numbers, but does anyone else think that he’s not worth max money?

  • http://twitter.com/Jzakoni Sanchez

    joakim all the way

  • Max

    No, when he’s healthy he’s a top 5 player.

  • Max

    Because everyone knows it by now that you call Kobe “Horry Jr”?

  • robb

    You haven’t won sh*t, Dwight you don’t know what it takes to do it. Not everybody wants to laugh at your stupid jokes and have a good time with you off court , and that shouldn’t determine the success of the team you play for. You are a professional athlete, your job is to make it work with the team you have. Get yourself in shape, focus on making your damn ft’s and stop talking. Man, I hate this clown…

  • shutup

    Rent-A-Center , so much better than Horry Jr. Kudos to you old chap!!

  • LobCity

    Based on the new CBA and other factors, I believed there was virtually no chance of him (or CP3) signing elsewhere. But more and more stuff keeps coming out about him being unhappy. It’ll be interesting to see how they do in the playoffs.

    Any Lakers fans worried about him walking?

  • LobCity

    He’s just waiting for that extra 25 mil in the offseason. Same with CP3.

  • Dutch Rich

    I think we both overlooked a Spanish guy in Memphis btw

  • shockexchange


  • shockexchange

    (Rent-A-Center voice) “Hello Brooklyn”

  • KBM

    Ya shock props on renta-centa.

  • shockexchange

    Holla at a playa when you see ‘em in the street …

  • LobCity

    Lol…..he’d like that but No cap space

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=509819249 Gaurav P.

    In his second year, he averaged 29 and 13, which is the same that he averaged in his one MVP season. He had pretty much the same numbers from his second year up until 2002-2003 (26+ points, 11+ rebounds). He hit his athletic and mental peak at 28 when PJ came, but again, the success he garnered from 2000 on had a lot to do with Kobe and Phil’s influence as well. Again, just look at the Lakers history from 1996-1999 and their numerous playoff failures.

  • shockexchange

    Brooklyn’s owner would amnesty half the team if he thought he had a shot at Rent-A-Center.

  • TV63

    Hmmm Kinda rich coming from him. Does he remember how he treated his team mates in Orlando?? BUt he is right about the bad chemistry. Howard is learning some very valuable lessons on this team.

  • LobCity

    You can only use the amnesty once on contracts signed before the Amnesty was awarded. Too much money in LA, not enough options. Only Dallas and ATL seem real possibilities

  • spit hot fiyah

    agreed, it comes of wrong everytime. BUT, let’s keep in mind that these guys have to be asked the same questions by reporters basically every single day. and if they just walk away they will probably get fined by the league

  • Ugh

    Stop milking it, dude.

  • Ugh

    No question that articles about the Lakers really drag out the idiots. I remember when Iverson used to do the same…