Dwight Howard, who signed with the Lakers this offseason, has high hopes for his second stint in Los Angeles.
“I’m excited to be back on the team. I’m very excited to see [all the Lakers fans] at the games,” Howard said (via the Lakers’ Twitter feed). “I’m looking forward to giving 110 percent.
“I know people don’t get second chances, but when you do get a second chance, you make sure you do the best you can do so it wipes away everything that happened the first time. I’m looking forward to it. I think we’re going to have an unbelievable season and I can’t wait to put on the purple and gold and tear down some rims…”
The big man’s first run with the Lakers didn’t live up to expectations. Howard was expected to join Steve Nash, Pau Gasol and Kobe Bryant to form a true contender in the Western Conference. The Lakers made the playoffs during Howard’s lone season in Los Angeles season, qualifying on the final day of the 2012-13 season–just days after Bryant tore his Achilles. The team was swept in the first round by the Spurs and Howard left for the Rockets in free agency that summer. The franchise has not made the playoff since.
Howard’s rebounding and rim-protecting skills remain at a high level and he should help Los Angeles be a better defensive team. Having Anthony Davis, LeBron James, and Danny Green in the starting lineup already improved the team defensively compared to what the Lakers had for most of last season. Bringing in Howard’s skill set only further helps the Lakers compete with the best in the league on that side of the court.
Howard’s deal with the Lakers runs for just one season and its non-guaranteed. He and JaVale McGee are competing for the teams’ starting center spot.