Dwight Howard's defense has vastly improved since the All-Star break. The once plodding along big man is spry again, looking much like the defensive player of the year he once was.
While the Los Angeles Lakers battle for a spot in the playoffs, there's still a season beyond 2012-2013 to worry about, and Howard has made it clear that there's every reason to believe he can continue his path to being a healthy All-World defender once again.
He's running the floor in transition, he's destroying pick and rolls, he's covering a ton of ground. When the Lakers played the Sacramento Kings it was most noticeable as he moved like a lunatic covering as much ground as we've seen any Lakers defender in the last few years.
The defensive tone he sets for Los Angeles can't be crunched down to a single statistic, but just looking at the stats when he's both on and off the floor are telling. Since the All-Star break the Lakers give up an average of 100.4 points per 100 possessions when Howard is their anchor, but an atrocious 115.8 when he's off the court.
Yes, a 15.4 differential on the defensive end. For comparison's sake, Roy Hibbert is having an amazing year defensively with a defensive rating of 94.3 for the Indiana Pacers being locked in while he's playing, and a 97.6 rating when he's off.
That's a testament to how Indiana plays defense, though, and also a giant arrow pointing at the defense as a whole for Los Angeles.
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