COMMENTARY | It would be easy to write an entire feature on the crazy things some Lakers fans say. In fact, I did as much a while back. But when it comes to Dwight Howard, the level of outlandishness exceeds any other chatter surrounding the team in terms of its sensationalism.
Let's face it -- we all say silly things, but in the land of basketball hyperbole known as the Los Angeles, anything is fair game.
The fun never stops, and L.A.s worst, taco-loving fans are at it again. Between the comments, Twitter and everything in between, there are just some uninspired things being said out there when it comes to the Lakers All-Star.
And away we go.
1. "Trade Dwight Howard to the Brooklyn Nets for Brook Lopez and MarShon Brooks"
Some people have actually suggested that Brook Lopez is a better option than Dwight Howard. That's laughable. First, let's look at the numbers:
Dwight Howard's career averages:
18.3 points, 12.3 rebounds, 2.2 blocks and a 57.8 field goal percentage
Brook Lopez's career numbers:
17.7 points, 7.5 rebounds, 1.5 blocks and a 51.1 field goal percentage
Next, some accolades:
NBA Defensive player of the year awards
All-Star Game appearances
Note: Lopez is three years younger than Howard and has four fewer years of tenure in the league
And then there are the things that don't show up on the stat sheet -- namely Howard's athleticism and ability to change shots. Lopez, to put it kindly, is not as athletic as Howard even at 75 percent health. When healthy, there's no center that can touch him.
As they say in sports -- "scoreboard."
2. "He's worthless because he can't shoot free throws"
Neither could Shaquille O'Neal, a career 52.7 percent free throw shooter, who was another dominant center with the Lakers for eight seasons. Was he a liability at the end of games? Of course. But they were games that L.A. would never have a chance to win in the first place if they didn't have The Diesel in the middle.
The same applies to Howard. He's too good to negate everything else due to one flaw in his game.
3. "We don't want him because he lacks killer instinct like Kobe"
First off, no one has killer instinct like Kobe Bryant, period. Not even the unanimous best player in the world, LeBron James, has the same assassin-like mentality as the Black Mamba.
Secondly, Howard isn't wired that way. He's perfectly effective being his jovial self. In fact, fans should embrace him smiling because not only does that make him comfortable, he's likely more effective that way, not having to live up to a bogus persona.
Get over it, he's a goofball. But he's the Lakers' goofball, and a top NBA talent at that.
4. "He's too soft"
Howard likes to have fun on and off the floor, and sometimes that's mistaken for softness. But even Bryant himself said that a player doesn't win three Defensive Player of the Year awards by being passive from a basketball standpoint..
Howard is a beast on the court when he's right, and pretty close to one even when he's not. There's no reason to buy what anyone's selling if they say that Howard is too weak to be the Lakers' center for years to come.
5. If Dwight's the future, then we're doomed"
The Lakers have far more issues than managing the injuries, touches and emotions of a three-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year and perennial All-Star. The Lakers have a coach who is probably the wrong fit for the team and an aging superstar in Bryant who may not want to hang it up after his contract expires at the end of next season.
Pau Gasol is signed through 2013-14 as well. Can the Lakers afford to waste his talent under the wrong scheme for another season? If the Lakers trade him, what kind of value could they expect back?
There are many questions to be answered in Laker-land going into 2013-14, and none of them should have anything to do with Howard if he re-signs with the team as he should.
Howard is the kind of player teams can build around. Who wouldn't want someone that's a potential lock for the Hall of Fame and can put up the numbers he does on a a consistent basis? There's a reason teams will pursue him in free agency in the offseason.
Again, who wouldn't want this guy on their team for the foreseeable future?
Apparently, enough Lakers fans to even make this a subject. Gotta love L.A.
Michael C. Jones covers the Los Angeles Lakers and the NBA. He writes regularly for SB Nation and Examiner.com. He is also the Editor of Sports Out West.
Catch up with him or ask him a question on Twitter @MikeJonesTweets
All stats via Basketball-reference.com