As a byproduct of how shorthanded the Lakers are in the frontcourt, the absence of Dwight Howard on Monday was very much felt in the team’s loss to the Raptors. Fortunately for the Lakers, Howard — who missed Monday due to a family emergency — has returned to the team and is set to be available for Wednesday’s game against the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Dwight Howard has rejoined the Lakers and is expected to be available against Minnesota tonight.— Ohm Youngmisuk (@NotoriousOHM) March 16, 2022
While Howard has been inconsistent with his production this season, his presence as a center alone is valuable at this point given the extremely undersized nature of the Lakers’ roster without Anthony Davis. In particular, against the Minnesota Timberwolves, Howard’s presence will almost certainly be needed.
In the three previous meetings against Minnesota, the Timberwolves had had 14, 15 and 20 offensive rebounds, the last of those being the second-highest mark of a Lakers opponent this year. Against a team that relentlessly attacks the offensive glass, Howard will almost certainly see action in Wednesday’s game in order to try and make his physical and large presence felt on the glass.
Even this past Wednesday, when the Lakers waived DeAndre Jordan and essentially replaced him two-way contract player Wenyen Gabriel, the team downsized, figuratively and literally. Howard represents the only true Plan B option to the Lakers small ball style, should it not work, especially for as long as Davis remains sidelined with the foot sprain that has kept him out for nearly four weeks so far.
Again, Howard’s effectiveness has waned this season, and he has largely been largely ineffective, but the Lakers still need him around. Having him back on Wednesday and, hopefully, moving forward is important for this team moving forward.