After Lakers center DeMarcus Cousins tore his ACL, the team is looking to add depth at the center position.
While free agent options are slim, the team is reportedly interested in giving a former player a second chance. The Lakers will speak to current Memphis Grizzlie Dwight Howard about a potential deal.
Howard is currently coming off an injury-plagued season in Washington, playing only nine games. However, the season prior, Howard played 81 games for the Hornets, and averaged 16.6 points and 12.5 rebounds.
In the right situation, can Dwight Howard bounce back and positively impact a team?
After a failed year in L.A., as well as few seasons in Houston where the team failed to meet expectations, Dwight Howard’s career is often forgotten about. But in his prime, Howard was the best center in the league, and has the resumé to go along with it.
In his eight years with the Magic, Howard proved to be a force on both ends of the court, playing the prototypical big man role. Howard was the focal point of some solid Magic teams, including one that made the NBA Finals in 2009.
In the five-year span of 2007 to 2012, Howard averaged 20.6 points, 13.9 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per game.
Howard’s dominant post play earned him no shortage of accolades. He is an eight-time All-Star, three-time Defensive Player of the Year, and has been selected to eight All-NBA teams, five of which were First Team.
While Howard is long removed from his prime, it doesn’t mean he can’t positively contribute to a team. Howard’s short-lived tenure with the Hornets proved he is still capable of averaging a double-double.
After undergoing surgery, Howard will look to have a healthy 2019-2020 season. If he is fully recovered, there’s no reason he can’t be a productive backup center who provides rebounding and defensive to his team’s second unit.
Would the Lakers Be a Fit?
Losing Cousins is devastating for the Lakers. Fully healthy, he could have either been a good starting center, letting Anthony Davis play his preferred power forward position, or a strong backup big. At their respective stages in their careers, a healthy Cousins has far more upside than a healthy Howard.
The reports of the Lakers’ interest in Howard came out of nowhere to many, but of the big men who are potentially available, he isn’t a bad option. Free-agent centers include players like Joakim Noah, Marcin Gortat, Tyler Zeller and others. Not many names jump out.
While Howard’s lax personality may be a detractor, it is hard to envision a leader like LeBron James, as well as a team with such high expectations, letting it become an issue.
A Dwight Howard acquisition could potentially be great for the Lakers, as defense, and now depth at the center position are needed. If not, there’s no reason he couldn’t have a solid impact on another contending team. His health is arguably the biggest question.
Featured image credited to Getty Images.
Stats credited to basketball-reference.com.