It is hard to believe that this time last year, the Los Angeles Lakers had the most talented starting five in the league and were the favorites to dethrone the Miami Heat. However, fast forward 365 days, and Dwight Howard is no longer in Los Angeles and the team will be facing tough challenges this season in order to surpass low expectations.
Howard is now with the Houston Rockets, and the Los Angeles Times writes that Howard’s former coach, Stan Van Gundy, played a big role in him leaving for Texas.
“I talked to Stan a lot during last season,” Howard told the Houston Chronicle. “During the off-season, we talked and he felt like the system that would fit me best and the coaching staff would be Houston. He said he liked [Kevin McHale]. He likes [Hakeem Olajuwon]. He likes [James Harden] and the fact that this is a young team. It reminds him of the team we had in Orlando, so he felt like this would be a good fit for me.”
It never seemed as though the Lakers had the right system in place for Howard, and he was never really comfortable in his position. The coaching change so early on in the season did not help Howard get comfortable with the team, and it was clear he was not on the same page as Mike D’Antoni.
Van Gundy led Howard and the Magic to the 2009 NBA Finals, only to be fired a few seasons later with most of the blame falling on no other than Dwight Howard.
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