Jan 23, 2013, 4:54 PM EDT
Dwight Howard came out at shootaround Wednesday, before the Lakers take on the Memphis Grizzlies in Tennessee, and said all the right things.
You’ll have to excuse Lakers fans who will want to see action before taking his word on it.
However, following a contentious team-only meeting where Kobe Bryant was blunt with Dwight Howard (as reported by the Los Angeles Times), and after taking a lot of criticism from fans and media Howard started by saying his focus on shot attempts (in the single digits the last three games) was immature. From Dave McMenamin at ESPNLosAngeles.com.
“That’s over with,” Howard said. “I can’t think about it. That was immature. I shouldn’t have done it, but today is a new day and today is a new game….
“People look at stats and sometimes, I myself look at and get caught up in stats, but stats don’t determine the game,” said Howard, now in his ninth season. “I can affect the game without even scoring the ball, so I got to get back on that. It’s not about how many points (I score), or whatever. I’ve been immature in the past in thinking that it’s all about shots because that’s what people want to see. They talk about points and how many times you score and all this stuff, but for me, it’s not even about scoring. It’s just about dominating and that’s bigger than just scoring points.”
Howard has been anything but dominating of late. Against the Bulls (when he was not getting touches) he was disinterested and disengaged. The game before against the Raptors he got ejected. He has complained publicly and privately about not getting touches im the post in Mike D’Antoni’s system. That attitude seemed to carry over on to the court.
Howard’s effort has been called into question, even by GM Mitch Kupchak, if not directly. Howard said Wednesday that is about to change, that he knows his effort needs to be better.
“I have to be more,” said Howard, who is averaging 17.1 points, 12.3 rebounds and 2.5 blocks on the season. “I have to do more for this team. There are a lot of responsibilities on my shoulders. I have to step up and take it. It has to be me. It has to start with me. I’m a guy that has to dominate for us to win. We’re not going to win unless I dominate.”
That is especially true against a Memphis front line that includes Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph. But it can’t just be one game, it has to be every game from here for the Lakers to have any shot at reaching the goals they set for themselves.
Those are nice words Howard said. He also said this would be the start of a new season for the Lakers. I have lost count of how many restarts to the season they have had now.
It’s time to see how all the words translate to the hardwood.
- Preview: Pacers must take back paint to even series with Heat 1
- Celtics deny Nets permission to speak with head coach Doc Rivers 5
- PBT Extra: Talking Heat/Pacers, and why Indy might be optimistic 10
- If Phil Jackson could have any player to start a team it would be… Bill Russell 48
- LeBron, Durant, Kobe headline All NBA First Team 25
- Report: Dwight Howard will consider multiple teams in free agency, is said to be most intrigued by the Rockets (122)
- Kobe Bryant responds to Michael Jordan comparison from Phil Jackson (91)
- Alonzo Mourning says Scottie Pippen says LeBron would “kick Jordan’s ass” (77)
- Bradley Beal said he’d lose respect for a teammate who acted like Derrick Rose (70)
- Pacers advance to the Eastern Conference Finals with Game 6 win over Knicks (60)
- Live Extra: Watch coverage of Carb Day at Indy
- PHT: Senators fight for playoff lives in Game 5
- Struggling Blackhawks on brink of elimination
- PHT: Wings push Blackhawks to brink | Highlights
- PHT: Kreider keeps Rangers alive | Highlights
- PHT: Kings defend home ice, up 3-2 | Highlights
- PBT: Hibbert says Battier's knee to groin intentional