Lakerholicz – Dwight Howard

Dwight Howard

Dwight Howard is undoubtedly one of the best NBA players of his generation, yet he was traded and then waived by the Memphis Grizzlies before the 2019-2020 season. So who does Dwight Howard play for? Dwight Howard signed to play for the Lakers for the 2019-2020 season on a day-to-day deal.

The Dwight Howard news has polarized some of the Lakers nation. On the one hand, many still harbor deep-seated anger at his one-off season in 2012-2013. On the other hand, he is perhaps the perfect fit for the Lakers roster after DeMarcus Cousins’ injury.

Over his career, Dwight Howard has gained a reputation for adding disharmony to the locker room. When he was previously with the Lakers, he had a publicized falling out with Kobe Bryant. Dwight Howard has certainly matured since then, and at 33 could have one last shot at a championship ring this season.

Dwight Howard wearing a black suit with a big smile

Howard will be hoping to prove the doubters wrong and show that he is a team-player this season. The terms of Dwight Howard’s contract means that if the Lakers are unhappy at any point, they can part ways with the player.

The Lakers had to reshuffle the roster after DeMarcus Cousins tore his anterior cruciate ligament. There’s no doubt that Cousins would have been a strong contender to start at center for the Lakers. Anthony Davis and JaVale McGee are both more than capable centers, and Devontae Cacok will be looking to impress as well.

Howard brings immense defensive experience. During his career, he has led the league in rebounds in five seasons, and blocks in two. Frank Vogel may have had this in mind when Howard was added to the Lakers roster. Howard is also a threat on offense. He has averaged a double-double for points and rebounds in 14 of his 15 NBA seasons.

To understand what he adds to the Lakers roster, it’s important to look at Dwight Howard’s career up to this point.

Early career

Dwight Howard was born in Atlanta, Georgia on 8 December 1985. He began playing basketball from the age of nine, predominantly in the guard position. For high school, he attended Southwest Atlanta Christian Academy.

At Southwest Atlanta Christian Academy, he played most of his games in the power forward position. Over his high school career, Howard averaged 16.6 points, 13.4 rebounds, and 6.3 blocks per game. It would be his senior year that would catapult Howard towards the NBA.

Dwight Howard averaged 25 points, 18 rebounds, 8.1 blocks, and 3.5 assists per game. He led Southwest Atlanta Christian Academy to a state championship, as well as a host of personal accolades and awards. He was awarded the 2004 Naismith Prep Player of the Year, Gatorade National Player of the Year and the Morgan Wootten High School Player of the Year. He was also selected, and co-MVP, of the 2004 McDonalds’ All-American Game.

After such a successful senior year, Dwight Howard decided to forego college and enlist for the 2004 NBA Draft. Dwight Howard’s NBA draft experience could not have gone better. He was the first overall pick in the first round by the Orlando Magic.

Orlando Magic

Dwight Howard was drafted by Orlando Magic in June 2004. In his rookie season, Dwight Howard’s position was power forward. He set an NBA record as the first rookie to start all 82 games of the season. He averaged a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds per game. This made him the youngest NBA player to average a double-double over a season. At the end of the season, he was selected for the All-Rookie first team.

In the off-season, Howard decided to bulk up. When he returned for the 2005-2006 season, he had put on 20 pounds. His coach, Brian Hill, wanted to mold him into a full-fledged center in the mold of Shaquille O’Neal. Howard’s move to center would bring out the best of his talents.

In total, Howard would spend eight seasons with Orlando Magic. During this time he would win the NBA Defensive Player of the Year for three consecutive years (2009-2011), make the All-NBA First Team five times (2008-2012), be the rebounding leader in the NBA for three consecutive seasons (2008-2010), and be selected for the All-NBA Defensive First Team for four consecutive seasons (2009-2012). Dwight Howard was an NBA All-Star for eight consecutive seasons (2007-2014), with the first six achieved while playing for the Orlando Magic.

Dwight Howard taking a free throw during a game

Ultimately, the one award that eluded Howard was an NBA championship ring. With the Magic, Howard won three consecutive division titles and the Eastern Conference. In the 2009 NBA Finals, the Magic would lose to the LA Lakers.

By this point, Howard was growing frustrated that the Magic were not making decisions that would build towards a finals win. Howard would ultimately request a trade in the 2011-2012 season.

While the Magic fans were unhappy about how Howard left, it is undeniable that they had a world-class talent in their roster. His best season was 2010-2011 where he scored 22.9 points, 14.1 rebounds, 1.4 assists, and 2.4 blocks per game.

Los Angeles Lakers

On 10 August 2012, Dwight Howard was traded to the LA Lakers. Coming off of a season where he led the league in rebounds and averaged 20.6 points, Lakers fans were expecting big things.

Due to injury, Howard appeared in 76 games in the Lakers schedule. What quickly became apparent was that Dwight Howard and Kobe Bryant weren’t seeing eye-to-eye. Lakers’ news stories reported off-court comments about not getting the ball enough and Bryant shooting too often. Over the 2012-2013 season, Howard averaged 17.1 points, 12.4 rebounds, 1.4 assists, and 2.4 blocks per game, once again leading the team in rebounds.

In the summer, he became a free agent. Despite a contract offer of five years and $118 million from the Lakers, Dwight Howard decided to sign with the Houston Rockets. Since that decision by Dwight Howard, Lakers fans have booed him every time he has played at the Staples Center (at least until this coming season).

Dwight Howard smiling while playing for the Los Angeles Lakers in 2012

Houston Rockets

On 13 July 2013, Dwight Howard signed for the Houston Rockets. Howard would spend three seasons with the Rockets. He was unable to find his Orlando Magic form, unfortunately. He did take the Rockets to the playoffs in each season, however, neither he nor James Harden could inspire the Rockets to the NBA Finals.

On 22 June 2016, Howard declined his player option and became an unrestricted free agent.

Atlanta Hawks

On 12 July 2016, Howard signed for his hometown team, the Atlanta Hawks. He would only spend one season with the Hawks, despite signing a three-year deal. Rumors of locker room discontent started to grow. Despite reaching the playoffs, the Hawks traded Howard to the Charlotte Hornets.

Charlotte Hornets

Howard joined the Hornets on 20 June 2017. He would also spend just one season at the Hornets. The 2017-2018 season would be a return to form. He averaged 16.6 points, 12.5 rebounds, 1.5 assists, and 2 blocks per game. He made a Hornets record of 53 double-doubles over the season.

At the end of the season, Howard would be involved in a roundabout trade with the Brooklyn Nets, which would end with him being a free agent. The Dwight Howard trade was in exchange for Timofey Mozgov, but the Nets bought out Howard and waived him immediately after the trade. The reason for this was to free up their salary cap. As a result, Howard was a free agent.

Washington Wizards

Dwight Howard signed with the Washington Wizards on 12 July 2018. In the 2018-2019 season, he failed to average a double-double for the first time in his career. He finished the season with an average of 12.8 points, 9.2 rebounds, 0.4 assists, and 0.4 blocks.

At the end of the season, Howard was traded to the Memphis Grizzlies. On 24 August 2019, Howard was waived by the Grizzlies.

Return to the LA Lakers

In what came as a surprise for many Lakers fans, Dwight Howard returned to the Lakers on 26 August 2019. As a cover from the DeMarcus Cousins injury, there is possibly no better center in the free-agent market. Having one of the greatest defensive players of the last fifteen years will certainly help Frank Vogel’s cause.

Perhaps a good omen for the Lakers is that the last time they made the NBA Playoffs, Dwight Howard was on their roster. To find out more about Dwight Howard and the Lakers, follow the Lakerholicz website. With recent partnership with BetMGM, support us by visiting BetMGM for a seamless betting and gaming experience.

Dwight Howard as a Los Angeles Laker during a timeout

NBA stats

Dwight Howard’s stats show what a great player he has been throughout his career. Over his career, he has averaged 17.4 points, 12.7 rebounds, 1.5 assists, and 2 blocks per game. He’ll be hoping to hit those stats this season with the Lakers.

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