How Much Of An Adjustment Does Dwight Howard Have To Make?

How Much Of An Adjustment Does Dwight Howard Have To Make?


NBA: Los Angeles Lakers at Philadelphia 76ersAs you may have heard, Andrew Bynum recently had a few controversial remarks about his playing days with Kobe Bryant. According to ESPN’S Dave McMenamin, this is what he had to say about playing alongside the Black Mamba:

“I thought it really helped me a lot obviously at first, because he draws so much attention it’s hard for guys to double team and key on you, so it helped me tremendously. Later, I felt I was able to get the ball more and do more things with the ball, so I could definitely see how it could stunt growth.”

Kobe Bryant actually agreed with Bynum and had this to say when informed of the comments:

“For sure, because when you’re playing with me you obviously have to sacrifice something. Same thing with me and Shaq. You kind of off-set each other to a certain extent. So, I mean, that’s true. When he gets back and he’s healthy, he’ll come out here and he’ll be the focal point of their attack and he’ll be getting the ball more and you’ll see big games from him more consistently.”

I don’t particularly agree with this because I feel that Bynum’s injuries stunted his growth more than anything, and the season in which he was actually relatively healthy, he made his first All-Star appearance and averaged 18.7 points and 11.8 rebounds. Lakers Nation’s own Andrew Ungvari had his own thoughts on what stunted Bynum’s growth as well.

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However, what Kobe said was intriguing to me. As stated above, he noted that he and Shaquille O’Neal had to learn to play together. However, it could be interpreted to meaning that Shaq had to adjust to him, but in reality, he likely meant the opposite. Shaq actually averaged between 18.3 and 21.1 shot attempts during the duo’s championship run (2000-2002) while Kobe averaged between 17.9 and 22.2 attempts during the same time.

In that sense, there were enough shots to go around for the two stars. However, this season’s supporting cast–or at least the supporting starting lineup–is arguably much better than the surrounding starting lineup those Lakers had.

Additionally, Shaq was a dominant offensive force from the beginning, was in his prime at the time. and his growth never seemed stunted due to playing next to Kobe Bryant. Kobe’s growth as an individual scorer likely was somewhat stunted however, at least during his first few seasons in the league.

Regardless, what stuck out to me the most was the present situation with Dwight Howard. Bynum had advice for Dwight Howard, which came as follows:

“Dwight’s a great player, but he’s going to have to get accustomed to playing with Kobe (Bryant) and not touching the ball every single play.”

This much is true, but exactly how much should/will Howard really have to adjust? Currently, Howard is averaging 11.2 field goal attempts per game. If Kobe was able to coexist with a dominant center averaging–at the lowest time between the pairing, in 2004–14.1 attempts, why can’t Howard get closer to the 13.4 attempts he was getting last season?

Next Page: What Do The Numbers Say?

  • Daniel Johnson

    The writer wrote “Essentially, Bryant is playing an extremely efficient overall offensive game; averaging career highs in field goal percentage (47.8) and three-point percentage (38.0), while also dropping more dimes than usual. Perpetual critics of Bryant can eat their words on those numbers.”…Numbers don’t tell the whole story…Kobe IS shooting great, don’t get me wrong…but if you want to talk #’s, Dwight’s FG percentage is in the 50+%…with way fewer shot attempts. Kobe more times than not, shoots too much! When Kobe decides to be the facilitator, and make things happen (which is rarely) Lakers play much better. Even if the other players aren’t hittling ALL of their shots.
    Kobe is NOT a great leader…he’s more of an a$$hole general. A leader doesn’t call out his teammates in the media…a leader doesn’t point fingers, takes the blame himself – whether wrong or right. Kobe is great…but not as a leader….isn’t it ironic how he’s clashed with many teammates he’s played with (You’ll probably defend him as well)?! I know all he wants to do is win, but he doesn’t have the leadership skills that are needed. Kobe had Phil for that, and now he’s gone…let’s see how many championships he wins without Phil…i bet my $$ ZERO!
    I love you Kobe….but you have to get everyone else involved…every single game.

    • Suki Thind

      Definitely not disagreeing with you on his shot attempts. I personally think he shoots too much, but I also know that he’s made his adjustment even if it seems slight. Personally, I’d like to see him take around 15 selective shots and be really efficient like he was at the start of the season, but we all know that’s not going to happen. As for his leadership, I’m not exactly going to disagree with you on that, either. He knows he’s an asshole and he openly admits it as being his leadership style–alluding to his 5 championships as proof that his style works.

      This season, though, I’ve seen him be a lot better about that stuff. He’s still a hard-ass, but he said now because Phil isn’t here anymore, he has to be more nurturing. I credit him for even saying that, and hopefully he really is more understanding. He gave an example of how Jordan was the same way, and Phil would be the calm one, but now that Phil’s gone, he has to take on both roles.

      I definitely feel that when he passes the ball more, everyone plays exponentially better. As for Dwight, I really feel they need to go inside-out a lot more. As for why they haven’t been doing so thus far, I blame the coach. But the coach is conceding that not everything can be pick & roll and maybe he needs to use the post. It will be an adjustment for him, but I think it’s one that can be managed and will be much better when Nash gets back–I hope at least. Back to the pick & rolls…when they run those, Kobe needs to actually pass it for once too. lol….he gets the screen and then usually shoots it, or passes it back outside for a three-point shot. I think he has to do a better job of getting it to Dwight after he rolls.

  • Maxpr1me

    The Lakers problem is easily solved. First; stop the twin towers
    experiment. Gasol should be playing strictly at center. As Howards
    back-up. Metta should be playing the stretch four with Kobe
    playing the speed 3. Meeks at SG and Nash the Point. Second unit; Gasol
    at C,
    Hill at PF, Jamison at SF, Morris at SG and Duhon/Blake at PG…This
    makes the starting unit faster w/better chemistry. And gives them a
    great second unit. Hill’s midrange jumper and Jamison’s slashing
    compliment Gasol’s post-up and passing out at center. Except for Morris being a second yr player he has shown the ability to make his shots. That’s a pretty good second team.