When Dwight Howard was finally traded from the Orlando Magic after nearly two years of the “Dwightmare” saga, things were supposed to calm down for the three-time Defensive Player of the Year. Under the extremely bright lights and daunting pressures of Los Angeles and being a Laker, the circus-like atmosphere around Dwight didn’t fade.
Expectations went through the roof in Laker Land after the team acquired Howard and two-time MVP Steve Nash. The Lakers went from a team on the decline (ousted from the playoffs in the second round two years in a row) to Finals favorites quicker than a bite from a mamba (no, not Kobe).
Dwight recently sat down with Sam Amick from USA Today, and discusses a wide array of topics. One of these topics regarded the idea of what was supposed to happen versus what has actually happened so far with the Lakers this season, in particular with his game with Nash.
Q: So I went back and looked at the Sports Illustrated cover with you and Steve (Nash) on it today for their season preview today, the one with the headline of…
A: This is gonna be fun… (laughs)
Q: Yeah, you remember. Does it make your head spin at all to think about how this was supposed to go compared to how it’s actually gone?
A: It does, because we first got together and I’m thinking about how it’s me and Steve Nash on the same team, and I’m looking at how he was with all these players, thinking, “This is going to be great. I’ll be catching lobs all day, no-look passes, between-the-leg passes.” In our minds, both of us had this fantasy of what we thought it would be like. And when the season started, with injuries and me coming back off of injury and all that stuff, it slowed down that process.
It’s kind of tough. We were in a period to where it’s like, “Man, nothing can go right for us. This ain’t fun. This isn’t what we expected.” But one thing we will say, from both sides — me and him. Our routines have always been the same — in the gym, every day, lifting, shooting, making sure we eat right. And all that stuff will pay off. It didn’t show up in the beginning of the season, but now we’re playing a lot better because of that. I admire Steve’s willingness to just work through the tough times.
Everything that could have happened happened. I would say for the most part, that Steve has been that positive guy throughout everything. He’s just like, “I’m going to keep my blinders on through everything, which is good.”
The Lakers are still dealing with injuries and have more to improve on, but have vastly improved their performance on the floor. The team seems very confident on the floor, and as we saw in New Orleans and against Toronto, they choose to fight when their backs are against the wall instead of folding. Relationships seems stronger between Dwight and Kobe and Dwight and Nash, as he discussed above.
Fortunately for Lakers fans, the team seems to have finally turned that corner that the team and its fans have been anxiously awaiting for too long. Winning and improved team chemistry fosters a happy environment and it seems like the players are having fun again. Getting back into playoff contention will do that to you.
VIDEO: Lakers Nation chats with USA Today’s Sam Amick about his one-on-one interview with Dwight Howard