Dwight Howard, Dwightmare Continue to Haunt Lakers’ Dreams with Talk of Kobe Bryant Amnesty

With the Dwight Howard saga well in the Los Angeles Lakers‘ rear view mirror, everyone in Laker-land can start to recover from getting burned and move on. That is, except for the fact that disturbing reports about the way he left town continue to surface and keep the Dwightmare alive.
The latest is a doozie, too. Howard reportedly asked the Lakers to fire head coach Mike D’Antoni and amnesty Kobe Bryant in order to retain his services.
Before everyone crucifies him, a paradigm shift is in order. Howard did play hurt for most of the season, still managed to lead the league in rebounding and was the only player to average at least 17 points 10 rebounds and two blocked shots per game (only one other player, Yao Ming, has done so since 2007-08 — Howard’s done it every year since). That’s nothing to discount or ignore.
But that’s where his value ends. He’s a liability at the free throw line, a bona fide coach killer and has severe limitations on the offensive end. Even Hakeem Olajuwon said recently that Howard is “very raw” in terms of his post-up game.
Very raw? For a player who’s 27 years-old, a seven-time All-Star and in the prime of his career? That’s a problem.
What’s even more of an issue is the fact that he may have already peaked since his body may never be the same. Let’s not forget — the 2012 surgery he underwent was on his spine. For a player whose entire arsenal on offense is predicated on quickness and athleticism, that has the potential to be extremely restrictive.
Even with all this, he’s still the best center in the league, but the gap is lessened significantly when looking at the accompanying sideshow and walking punchline he’s become in addition to the injuries to his back and shoulder.
This isn’t the first we’ve heard about friction between Howard and Bryant and Howard and D’Antoni. Howard was reluctant to run the pick-and-roll and didn’t like playing with someone as demanding as Bryant. When things went terribly wrong in the form of a freak number of injuries, it only added to the already-existing problems.
The narrative going in to the Dwight experiment was that Bryant would mentor Howard, who in turn would learn how to win and work hard; the Lakers would have their next franchise player. What unfolded was an utter disaster.
It still doesn’t mean that the Lakers were better off without him. It’s why everyone was united in wanting him to stay. General manager Mitch Kupchak, the players, coaches and entire front office can’t all miss on that one. But what is becoming clearer is that maybe the loss isn’t as bad as it felt. Getting left at the proverbial altar by 2013’s biggest free agent is a big deal for the pride of the NBA, but it happened, and now it doesn’t seem like such a bad thing.
In any case, more reports about how things went down will come out as time wears on, and Howard will forever be public enemy No. 1 in Southern California.
It’s all requisite Hollywood Lakers drama, but this particular story will be better off without the most despised player in team history.

Written by Nick


Nick the Quick White is an avid fan of basketball and hip hop, and a contributing writer with WJS since 2013. Nick has interviewed rappers, ballers, rapper ballers, and baller rappers on the site and continues to preach that the NBA should have a team in Europe. Maybe because Nick currently lives outside London where to them Football is actually played with your feet, can you believe this fatuousness?

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