Over the season, it has been evident that Dwight Howard just isn’t clicking like Lakers fans had hoped. Which is unfortunate since the preseason predictions for this Lakers team were so high. It appeared as though, in the beginning, he was just trying to find his rhythm. But now through a difficult past few weeks on the court and in the media, Howard lacks the confidence the Lakers need in a center.
When I first approached the idea of whether or not Dwight should play in the All- Star game, I adamantly told myself no. No. No. No. However, I believe in looking at the bigger picture, and decided to poll the Lakers Nation readers to see whether or not you all agreed with me. An overwhelming 84.9% of readers said that Dwight should sit out the NBA All-Star Game to get ready for the second half of the Lakers season.
— Tyler Conroy (@TylerConroy1) February 12, 2013
Although this gave me the confidence to believe I wasn’t crazy in how I felt, I did gain something else; perspective. For those of you who felt Howard deserved to play the game, you provided me with good reason. Ones that I considered in the coming arguments.
The main reason Dwight Howard needs to sit out this weekend is the fact that he is injured. The Lakers are without Pau Gasol for another seven weeks and can’t afford Howard out too. I understand that yes, in theory, Dwight could go down with a back or shoulder injury during any game the Lakers also play. The All- Star game is different; for one, Dwight is playing against the best of the East, which includes LeBron James who is a MAC-truck. If you watch games the Heat play, NBA athletes will get out of LeBron James’ way when he is on a breakaway because they know James isn’t someone to mess with. I could have given Howard the confidence to go against some of the better players in the league two years ago, but not anymore. His injury has taken him down athletically and mentally. Many of you agreed:
— Leti Vasquez (@letisnappp) February 12, 2013
— Hazardous|Sarcasm™ (@LyfeIn2D) February 12, 2013
Serena Winters of Lakers Nation caught up with Howard after practice yesterday where he had this to say in response to asking whether his shoulder was feeling any stronger:
When asked about his shoulder yesterday, Dwight said “A lot of pain after the game yesterday…just try to play through it.”
— Serena Winters (@SerenaWinters) February 12, 2013
It amazes me how Dwight understands his injuries, acknowledges his pain, and would even consider playing on Sunday night. He came out today to say that he wants to play in the All-Star game despite his injuries. However, Howard cannot put his body at risk by playing in the game. Period. He has the Lakers season to think about. Which brings me to my next point.
Dwight has to commit to Los Angeles. He needs to put the Lakers before the All-Star Game. Here is what Lakers Nation fans had to say:
— EAGLES/LAKERS/REDSOX (@Blaze_28) February 12, 2013
Whether or not he re-signs with L.A., Dwight Howard owes it to his team this season to perform as a team player. I really enjoyed this tweet from Lakers Nation reader Chanse Pierson:
— Chanse Pierson (@chanse24) February 12, 2013
Bingo. Dwight Howard can show Los Angeles that he wants to be part of the franchise and go for a playoff run this season if he sits. The Lakers have committed themselves to Howard this season and he needs to return the favor. Recently, rumors of a Dwight trade have been circling the organization, ones in which Mitch Kupchak effectively shot down.