Clippers big man Montrezl Harrell may have won Sixth Man of the Year on Friday, but he wasn’t the only center from Los Angeles to get some love in the final voting tally. Lakers reserve Dwight Howard also got one third place vote for the award in recognition of his incredible redemption season off the bench.
Here are the final votes:
Dwight Howard got a third place vote for Sixth Man of the Year pic.twitter.com/os1IrsVif0— Harrison Faigen (@hmfaigen) September 4, 2020
Howard averaged 7.5 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.1 blocks in 18.9 minutes off the bench this year, which translates to 14.3 points, 14 rebounds and 2.2 blocks per 36 minutes.
That’s not to say Dwight would have kept up that pace had he played nearly double his current minutes, but he was incredibly effective and efficient when he was on the floor, shooting a career-high 72.9% from the field, which was also the second-best percentage in the league among players to appear in more than 30 games.
As an efficient, low-volume scorer and physical defensive pest, he was exactly what the Lakers needed him to be, something that left head coach Frank Vogel grateful for Howard’s presence and contributions to the Lakers so far.
“We want to be the most physical team in the NBA, and obviously he sets a great tone with his physicality,” Vogel said. “Having a guy like Dwight accept the role as the backup center, come in and impact the game in the minutes that he’s given, to be a star in his role, that’s sort of been a mantra for our team this year. We have two obvious All-Stars, two of the best players in the world, but we need other players to star in their roles, and Dwight has excelled in that.”
Against an extremely small Rockets team that may necessitate lineup changes from the Lakers, how much Howard will get chances to excel in the second round is still up in the air. But after a solid campaign that saw him improve his reputation both on the court and in the locker room as a teammate, we know that he’ll happily accept whatever opportunities he’s given.