While we were away, the deal rumored to happen for,…. well, seemingly forever, finally happened, and Dwight Howard is a Laker.
The commentators that I have heard are unanimous in handing the next title to the Lakers, and are guessing 62, 63, 64, 65 win totals for next season.
Not so fast.
When Lebum James and Chris Bosh were added to the Heat roster, joining Dwyane Wade, similar assurances were made. It took until their second season together for those prognostications to come true. With the Lakers, it will take longer, if it ever happens.
There are two elements to this dose of reality: 1) Too many hands in the cookie jar, and 2) Lack of a real, quality NBA coach telling the hands what to do and how to do it.
|One ball plus Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard will not work, even with a great floor general like Steve Nash. Dwight Howard plays with the ball, and he has never played with a shooter who also commands the ball like Kobe. Add in Gasol and there are, without a doubt, too many hands. Howard, who shoots 90% from six inches, could not make a 12 footer if his life depended on it, and he hit a new low from the free throw line last season, failing to break 50%. Few fans, or commentators, have even considered the fact that he is coming off major back surgery, and may not be healthy enough to start the season, and may not be able to play full speed for most, if not all, of the season, and maybe not for an||
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even longer period.
Last May, we wrote a couple of articles on what path the Lakers should take towards the future. In “The Mike Brown Era Will End Tomorrow, With a Whimper”, we described a pattern of problems with the team he “lead”, and hoped for his firing. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen. A few days later, in “Do the Lakers Patch it Up or Blow it Up?” we described different scenarios, one a patch job for a run next season or a different one, where the team gets appreciably younger and poised for a series of future title runs. Neither path involves Brown. They have chosen a hybrid, which in my mind, bodes well for neither this season, nor for the near future, so long as Brown is the coach, and with Bryant and Nash approaching medicare eligibility.
After several also-run seasons in the NBA, Shaquille O’Neill is famous for having said that he had won at every level, except College and the Pros. That can be the Dwight Howard legend as well. The current Laker team will win nowhere close to 60-65 games, and will not win a title.
Ten years from now, Andrew Bynum will have a few rings, and Dwight Howard will not. And Mike Brown will be somewhere, unseen.