Los Angeles Lakers Player Spotlight: Dwight Howard

Lakers rumors (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
Lakers rumors (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /

Dwight Howard is currently in his second stint with the Los Angeles Lakers, and thus far, it is going much better than the first time around.

The next player that will be covered in the “Los Angeles Lakers Player Spotlight” series is center Dwight Howard.


Dwight Howard is a rare case of someone who had a successful NBA career despite foregoing college and going to the pros straight from high school. Even with him not spending a single day on a college roster, the Orlando Magic selected Dwight with the first overall pick of the 2004 NBA Draft.

This was a gamble that paid off greatly for the Magic. In his eight seasons with Orlando, he became one of the most dominant players in the NBA. This is especially impressive considering this era had Hall of Famers and future Hall of Famers like LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade, Paul Pierce, and Howard’s idol Kevin Garnett.

In 2009, Howard even carried the Magic team to an NBA Finals appearance against the Los Angeles Lakers. To make it to the finals, the Magic defeated a Boston Celtics team built around Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, and Kevin Garnett.

After that hard-fought series, Howard faced off against a LeBron James-led Cleveland Cavaliers team. While they fell short in the NBA Finals against Kobe Bryant and the Lakers, this was one of the most impressive playoff runs by a single player in recent history.

In his time with the Magic, Howard averaged 18.4 points, 13 rebounds, and 1.9 blocks. However, Howard was ready for a bigger market and more help around him to win his first championship. As a result, the Magic traded him to the Lakers in a four-team deal.

This created a super-team built around Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, and Dwight Howard. This experiment failed as a result of injuries and chemistry issues. This led to a long string of teams that Howard would play for.

After his last season with the Lakers, Howard signed with the Rockets to team up with budding superstar James Harden. Yet again, there were locker room issues and Dwight would sign with his hometown team, the Atlanta Hawks. After a single season with the Hawks, he was traded to the Charlotte Hornets.

In yet another single year stint with a team, Howard would leave the Hornets and sign with the Washington Wizards. Once the season with the Wizards was over, it was widely speculated that Howard’s NBA career was over. However, the Lakers decided to give it another chance with Dwight and gave him a one-year nonguaranteed contract.

Strengths And Weaknesses

Throughout his career, Dwight has been an elite big man. In all seasons besides two of his 16-year career, Dwight averaged a double-double in points and rebounds. Even in his older age, he is one of the best rebounders on a championship-contending Los Angeles Lakers team.

On top of this, defensively Dwight is remarkable as well. He is a spectacular shot blocker and with his build, he is almost impossible to move in the post. This defensive ability led Howard to be a three-time defensive player of the year.

One of the only downsides of Howard’s game is his shooting. While he is not expected to be able to shoot threes when he has outside of this current season it has been abysmal.

On top of this, his free throw shooting has led to him being intentionally fouled and sent to the line in countless games. Also, he has been known league-wide for the locker room issues and someone who teammates cannot get along with.

What He Brings To The Los Angeles Lakers

Dwight might be the most cost-efficient player on the Lakers roster. He is someone who could be the starting center for a championship-contending team, however, he has been great off the bench.

He provides a spark when he comes into the game with his lockdown defense and his ability to finish alley-oops. Howard is someone who will be both a key player and an X-Factor for the Lakers in their playoff run.

Next. Player spotlight: Anthony Davis. dark

If everything works out this offseason, Howard will be returning to the team to finish his career with the Lakers.