If you missed the game on Wednesday night against the Nuggets, Dwight Howard was ejected after he basically clobbered Kenneth Faried out of the air that was signaled a Flagrant-2 foul. With the Lakers defense turning bad to worse, the Lakers lost to Denver. The Nuggets scored 126 points and snapped the Lakers’ five-game winning streak.
The Orange County Register’s Kevin Ding had some words (not just from him) that weren’t exactly kind about Howard.
DENVER – People are starting to notice.
“Dwight Howard is basically Kosta Koufos” was the message I got from one NBA insider midway through the Lakers’ loss Wednesday night in Denver, referring to the Nuggets’ largely anonymous center.
Not long after, someone else who works in league personnel offered: “If you dropped in from another planet and had no idea who the players were, you would never know that Dwight Howard was one of the best players.”
And you know what? They’re right. Howard has had some brilliant flashes at times, and I get that he’s still not 100 percent. But there are times where he just cruises through a game (much like a Laker center last season that we’re all familiar with).
Mike D’Antoni, who doesn’t really mince words with the media, had this assessment as well.
Ejected for fouling Denver’s Kenneth Faried in the face, Howard whined afterward about being penalized by referees for being big and strong – one of O’Neal’s favorite statements. Looking so slow on the second night of a back-to-back set before the ejection – to the point that Mike D’Antoni said the Lakers didn’t lose “a whole lot” in Howard’s ejection – certainly was Shaq-like, too.
“Didn’t lose a whole lot.” Ouch.
And Steve Nash made this point.
Steve Nash didn’t name names the way D’Antoni did, but Nash had a point to make after the loss to Denver about that kind of mindset.
Everyone has days when they don’t have their legs, Nash said, and those are the days when you’d really better “fight.”
“And find other ways to get it done,” Nash said.
It’s more about the mental aspect about Howard more than the physical. And we’ve all been there where we don’t want to do anything, just like how NBA players don’t have the legs or are just not feeling it. So we all try to find a second or third wind to try to get through it. That’s what Dwight Howard needs. We all have our excuses here and there but, in the end, if he’s on the court, he’d better perform.
Howard just turned 27 years old. He was supposed to be the one that helps out the other four guys (Metta, Kobe, Nash, Gasol) who are in their 30s. Those guys were supposed to lean on him. Instead, we’re getting Howard to lean on these old (by NBA standards) players. That’s not the way it’s supposed to be.
I’m all for Dwight being goofy and smiley and all that. But there’s a time and place for everything. He’d better take it more seriously or else he’ll never be able to take it to the next level.
And if you’re being compared to Kosta Koufos, man, you’d really better step it up.