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Sunday, April 14th, 2013 at 12:54 pm  |  44 responses

Dwight Howard Preparing to Step Up as Leader of the Lakers


When Kobe Bryant went down, Lakers fans—in an understandable depression—might have not realized that their squad’s Playoff chances are still very much alive. But the team will need a new leader. Enter Dwight Howard, who’s played second fiddle behind Kobe all year…until now. Per ESPNLosAngeles: “With his teammates gathered, Howard stood in front of them and spoke for the first time as the team leader. ‘I just told them that [Lakers management] put this team together for a reason, and we all know how to play basketball,’ Howard said. ‘We’ve all done special things in our career before, and it’s time to do it again. We’ve all been blessed to play with Kobe, but we all have talent too, and we have to show it.’ For the first time since being traded to the Lakers in August, Howard was given the opportunity to lead the team. It’s a position he held with the Orlando Magic for the previous eight seasons and one that he anticipated accepting with the Lakers at some point after Bryant retires. ’That’s why they brought me here,’ Howard said. … In Bryant’s absence, Howard understands he has to assume more of a leadership role. That doesn’t just mean the offense must run through him, which it will now, but it means being a vocal presence in huddles, meetings, practices and games. ’This team’s got to ride my back even though my back is still healing,’ Howard said. ‘I feel I can do all things and take this team to the next level. Everybody is looking at me, so I have to tell the guys how I feel. The main thing is we have to go out there and play together. Without Kobe, there is still a lot that can be done with this team.’”

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  • danpowers

    did he see himself play this season?

  • Conor

    The offence will not run through Dwight Howard, it’ll run through Pau Gasol because the latter is the greater offensive option. He’ll have the opportunity to attempt awkward jump-hooks which miss the box entirely, however.

  • http://twitter.com/thursti_tyht Thurstian Tsui

    Lol. I can just see Gasol standing there looking at him during his speech.

  • spit hot fiyah

    sure, now that there is nothing to play for

  • Joey

    The picture with this post sums up how serious heprobably means about this….

  • JML-G

    i dont believe u, u need more people

  • ATL dynamite

    This is what he should be doing all season. Your franchise is in such a critical point and you are still ‘preparing’ to be a leader… maybe I have been expecting too much from you Dwight. It should be the damn time when you should say ‘This team is mine, follow me!’, not ‘err….. should I be the leader? Should I consult my teammates or Kobe about this..?’

    Come on man.

  • underdog

    Fate gave Mike D’Antoni another chance to prove himself.

  • The Seed

    Howard can’t lead kids to a store to buy candy, how is he going to lead the Lakers.

  • mike

    Dwight hasnt done anything to have earned a leadership spot .

  • MUBWAR

    well returning from back injury and dropping 17 12.5 and 2.4 blocks isn’t too shabby. don’t recall a front court knicks player averaging that, just saying

  • Coyboo

    Im laughing upon reading the headline. Lololol

  • The Philosopher

    Don’t sleep on Howard, my brethren.
    His pedigree speaks for itself.
    He’ll be able to spread his wings, now.
    Peculiar timing, but…

  • house

    Didn’t Pau, playing his ass off, have a triple dub last game against the warriors? Thats the type of leader the Lakers need right now, Dwight Howard ain’t that guy.

  • Ugh

    It won’t run through Pau Gasol. Mike D’Antoni doesn’t have the faintest idea what Pau Gasol is for, let alone be able to run an offence through him. The wheels are going to fly off this machine and take out season ticket holders in the first round. It’ll be spectacular.

  • danpowers

    talk to that about me in a knicks topic when it is the content of a headline b*tch. these numbers r still fine, sure. but the way he plays is very limited and his moves r still raw, regardless of his athleticism. that aint too bad for him as there r not many great centers in the nba. but tht hurts if u imagine what he could bring if he wouldve developed a better back to the basket game

  • dmx

    I hate what dwight did right there. He did everything right stepping up as a leader then said, even though my back is still healing, He has to make an excuse for everything doesnt he?

  • AndyK415

    That’s what caught my eye too. Still using injuries as an excuse and even after he watched Kobe stand there and shoot free throws on one foot.

  • berkamore

    Me too. LOL. Probably thinking: “I kicked your f……tail during the NBA Finals and you think I will follow your lead? What have you ever won? GTFOH”. But Pau won’t say a thing, of course. LOL.

  • berkamore

    That guy is really delusional. If the Lakers are to survive/advance, it has to be a team effort. But nobody is good enough on that team to be a “leader”.

    In fact, I would like Gasol to be more assertive. He has the talent and actually won. But Howard, nah, his game is WAAAAAAAAAAAAAY too rudimentary to carry the Lakers.
    (Can’t blame Mamba for shooting, he had to and no, I am not a fan of his, far from it)

    Let Howard stick to defense and rebounding. That will help the team.

  • danpowers

    hmmm

  • Caboose

    “Why are you preparing? You’re always preparing. Just go!”
    -Dark Helmet, Spaceballs

  • S.Rojas

    LOL oh dwight…

  • tomtom

    This is a better team right now (without Kobe, but assuming Nash comes back) than the one Dwight led to the NBA finals. That is the positive, the negative is that the west is way more competitive, the Lakers have way less chemistry and Orlando had a better coach. He looks far more athletic than at mid-season and i think he may have earned a little more respect in the locker room with recent performances.

  • dmx

    Its just the way he goes about things; hes afraid to fail. By saying his back is still healing hes putting himself in position to avoid failure by all costs because if they lose he will just say, “my back wasnt 100%”

  • The Seed

    If you think this is a better team without Kobe, pass the pipe. Also the Magic team was a better team than this team without Kobe. Go rewatch the NBA Finals and how Magic put on the 60win MVP led Lebron Cavs and other teams. Dwight can’t lead, just wait and see.

  • Conor

    They went through Gasol down the stretch, when Kobe went out. Obviously Howard will get more looks, but it certainly won’t be at the expense of Gasol.

    Much of it has to do with Kobe, but the Lakers have had the same record as OKC (26-12) over as many games. That’s nearly have the season… if Nash comes back and his reinsertion is a smooth transition for the team, who knows what they can do.

  • Conor

    *half

  • http://twitter.com/AjpDos Allen Powell

    Ask Orlando how that went…

  • http://twitter.com/AjpDos Allen Powell

    I like how you found a way to insult LeBron there. You are truly masterful.

  • robb

    You can’t be a leader just because you say so. Pau’s been there for years, has won championships, knows how to communicate with his teammates better, has a higher basketball I.Q. and on top he’s a better post player and a better passer than Dwight. If No. 12 thinks he’s the leader now that Kobe’s out he’s nuts.

  • Lan

    always start your day with a Good Laugh.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Junior-Taylor/100003121138419 Junior Taylor

    Gasol > anyone on that Magic team not named Howard.

  • MUBWAR

    shoulda coulda woulda it ain’t dwight’s fault there aren’t great centers. just watch next year, fully healthy, how he dominates?

  • Conor

    Well, the Lakers were not bereft of Gasol looks… HaHaHaHa, this is like a Bizarro Game 7.

  • Conor

    Well, I’m happy that I was wrong. Gasol will not shoot less than 30% very often, though.

  • Lloyd

    You’re insane. That’s clearly a joke. The team obviously isn’t literally riding his back…

  • Lloyd

    His stat line tonight proves all you haters wrong. I’m not a Lakers fan, but I really want to see Dwight back to form. I love this attitude, that he came out publicly and says it, then backs it up with a great performance. The Lakers are now playing sans Kobe. There’s no expectation from the outside, and internally they’re going to play like they have something to prove. Kobe going down may be the best thing mentally for that locker room. Let’s see what happens.

  • Phil

    One game. We’ll see if it continues. And if it does, it begs the question: why not before? Kobe took away his rebounds? His aggressive, controlled post drop steps and spins? Troubling, if you’re a Laker fan.

  • Lloyd

    Better late then never if he can keep it up I say. As for the speculation on why he couldn’t lead by performance/stature before, it could be a confidence thing. Playing second fiddle to Kobe has got to feel a bit stifling after being the man in Orlando. Now there’s nothing hindering him from taking over. Again…time will tell if he’s serious about this though.

  • http://www.facebook.com/zer02hero15 James Franco Guerta

    So the Jazz are one lose away for elimination..Even if they can win against the wolves that memphis game is difficult becase they are fighting for the 3rd spot..

  • danpowers

    this here is about this year. n dont get at me with my team this season. 53 – 44 son

  • Max

    They went to the finals with a defensive super team?

  • Max

    Dragging a team to the finals doesn’t count?

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