- Dwight Howard is having a resurgence with the Los Angeles Lakers after nearly falling out of the league.
- The Lakers signed Howard as injury insurance in August, and he has come off the bench to play high-level defense, rebound, and finish around the basket without demanding too many touches on offense.
- Howard is playing the type of role that he’s refused in recent years, to his detriment, and it appears the Lakers may have gotten a bargain by signing him so late in the offseason.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more.
While LeBron James and Anthony Davis are the faces of the Western Conference-leading Los Angeles Lakers, the most surprising contributor has been Dwight Howard. This resurgence comes just two months after it appeared he was falling out of the league
The Lakers signed Howard in late August after DeMarcus Cousins tore his ACL. It was a surprise reunion for both player and club, as Howard left the Lakers in free agency in 2012 after one tumultuous season.
The signing marked Howard’s sixth team in four years — he was traded from the Houston Rockets to the Atlanta Hawks for the 2016-17 season, then to the Charlotte Hornets for 2017-18, then to the Brooklyn Nets, who bought him out immediately in 2018.
Howard signed with the Washington Wizards for 2018-19 but was limited to just nine games because of a back injury and subsequent back surgery. Howard was then traded to the Memphis Grizzlies this offseason in a salary-dump. He was promptly bought out again, leaving him on the free-agent market, where he didn’t seem to draw much interest until the Lakers gave him a tryout out of necessity.
A new, productive role
At the Lakers’ media day in late September, Howard, 33, told ESPN’s Dave McMenamin, “I never thought in a million years that me and LeBron would be on the same team.”
Now the two aging stars are united, after a decade that saw their careers go in opposite directions. With the Lakers, Howard has assumed a different role than anyone could have imagined 11 years ago when he was competing