clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Frank Vogel thinks Dwight Howard was ‘a star in his role’ against Hornets, LeBron James says that’s why Lakers brought him in

New, comments

Dwight Howard has kept his word with the Lakers so far, and his coaches and teammates couldn’t be more proud of him for it.

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

Charlotte Hornets v Los Angeles Lakers Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

When the Los Angeles Lakers made the controversial decision to bring back Dwight Howard in August, they made sure to protect themselves by making his contract non-guaranteed. For as talented as Howard is, his head hasn’t always been in the right place, which has led to his fall from grace over the last few years.

While it’s still early in the season, Howard seems to be playing his most inspired basketball in years with the Lakers, and his coaches and teammates aren’t letting his effort go unnoticed.

After the Lakers’ 120-101 win over the Charlotte Hornets, in which Howard tallied 16 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks again his former team, head coach Frank Vogel praised Howard for buying into his role and said that there may be an opportunity for the 33-year-old to break into the starting lineup:

LeBron James also gave props to Howard for the intensity he played with (via Spectrum SportsNet):

“That’s why we brought him here… We believed in him and his word, and he’s making the most of it. We’re truly excited to have him here right now.”

The Lakers re-signed JaVale McGee to a “1+1” deal this summer and the expectation was that McGee would assume his role as the team’s starting center. However, through three games, Howard has the highest net rating on the team at +27.9. Alex Caruso is a distant second at +18.

Meanwhile, McGee has struggled to rediscover his form from last season and has posted a net rating of -12.6. Again, it’s early in the season, but Howard has been the best center on the team by a wide margin so far.

Howard doesn’t sound too concerned about starting, though. Instead, Howard’s primary concern is playing the right way and helping the Lakers win as many games as possible, with the hope of adding a championship to his already stacked resume:

That type of attitude is why Howard has a job in the NBA and as long as he keeps it up, it’s safe to assume his spot on the roster is safe — assuming it isn’t already. Howard’s $2.5 million salary becomes guaranteed on Jan. 1.

The decision to bring back Howard was a risky one for the Lakers, especially because he took the final roster spot, but it’s one that has paid off for them so far. Let’s hope Howard continues his progression both on and off the court.

For more Lakers talk, subscribe to the Silver Screen and Roll podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Podcasts. You can follow this author on Twitter at @RadRivas