It's counterintuitive, I know. But it's also true:
Dwight Howard might put up even better statistics with the Los Angeles Lakers than he did with the Orlando Magic. Over the last five seasons of his eight-year career, Howard has been an absolute monster:
Dwight Howard, 2008-2012 - 20.6 PTS, 13.9 REB, 1.5 AST, 2.5 BLK, 59.0% FG.
I'm glad you asked.
The Steve Nash Effect
Dwight Howard has never played with a point guard who can create like Steve Nash.
Howard posted incredible offensive numbers over the last five years despite having oft-injured Jameer Nelson running the point in Orlando. Over the last five years Nelson has averaged a modest 5.6 assists per game and is clearly a below-average set-up guy.
Steve Nash is arguably the best set-up guy in NBA history.
Nash will feed Howard for more uncontested dunks than he has seen in his career. It would not surprise me to see his scoring edge higher while shooting well over 60%.
Pick Your Poison, Opposing Defenses
For the first time in his career, Dwight Howard will not constantly draw double teams.
It will be an odd feeling for him, like in the movie The Princess Bride when Fezzik (Andre the Giant) didn't know how to react to fighting just one person instead of an entire posse. (As a Lakers fan I just hope Howard is more successful than Fezzik was.)
If opposing defenses double team Howard in Los Angeles, they will pay the price.
Steve Nash is the NBA's best shooter. Pau Gasol has one of the most deadly mid-range jumpers among NBA big men. Kobe Bryant is Kobe Bryant. Metta World Peace is…never mind.
Nash, Pau, and Kobe will absolutely torture opposing defenses if they dare double team Dwight.
Enough Touches to Go Around
Despite the star-studded Lakers' roster, there will be plenty of touches for Howard to improve on his stellar numbers.
Andrew Bynum was traded by the Lakers to acquire Dwight Howard. Last year Bynum averaged 18.7 points and 11.8 rebounds, a void Howard will fill and then some.
Ramon Sessions and his 12.7 points are also gone from Los Angeles. Steve Nash scored 12.5 points per game in Phoenix last year and will probably score even less with the Lakers as he focuses first on orchestrating the offense.
Kobe will force the ball - and shots - less often with his improved teammates and with Nash running the offense.
There will be plenty of opportunities for Howard to score.
His offensive rebounding output may surge as he finds himself in more one-on-one rebounding situations instead of being double teamed. He should have plenty of opportunities to block shots as point guards penetrate past Steve Nash and challenge Howard at the rim.
Dwight Howard will have a statistically stellar season this year with the Lakers.
There will be kryptonite to slow down Superman in Los Angeles.
Andrew Sweat is a die-hard Lakers fan. For more from this author, or check these out articles:
- Sports & Recreation
- Dwight Howard
- Steve Nash
- Los Angeles Lakers
- Kobe Bryant