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Dwight Howard says he was immature, promises to “bring it”

Jan 23, 2013, 4:54 PM EDT

Phoenix Suns v Los Angeles Lakers Getty Images

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.

  1. cosanostra71 - Jan 23, 2013 at 5:08 PM

    If he brings it, that would be great. Memphis has a great frontcourt and we need Dwight to play with good effort if we want a chance to win the game. Don’t be afraid to demand the ball a little bit Dwight.

    • stadix093 - Jan 23, 2013 at 5:19 PM

      I agree. Kind of makes me sad he wasn’t bringing it before. Wtf Dwight?

  2. tomdrec42 - Jan 23, 2013 at 5:22 PM

    Gasol should start vs the grizz lineup for defensive reasons. Lets see how smart dantoni is

    • badintent - Jan 24, 2013 at 12:50 AM

      Gasol vs.Gasol is the best matchup on the court. These guys played well together for Spain , but this is for blood honor now Matador , meet the bull( no , not Kebi )

  3. december77 - Jan 23, 2013 at 5:31 PM

    What a loser. If anyone is paying you millions of dollars, you should have been bringing it from day ONE. This moron needs a lesson in professionalism. Physically gifted to be great. Mentally stunted to be serviceable…maybe.

  4. magicbucs - Jan 23, 2013 at 5:32 PM

    as much as I dislike Dwight, aren’t the dominant players always supposed to get the touches? All retired big men; shaq, Barkley, hakeem, webber to name a few. Some of those guys I’ve heard say in the past that Dwight or anyother doninant player needs to go in that lockerroom and demand the ball.

    No need to apologize dwight!

    While in Orlando D12 usually got a lot of touches and shots (15 shots) …
    Til last season the magic won 55 games or better, 2 conference finals appearances and a finals appearance.
    7 shots/game = loss for LA

    • fanofthegame79 - Jan 23, 2013 at 6:12 PM

      I gotta say I agree with you all the way around. I’m not a huge Dwight Howard fan and I’m not sure I think he’s the best center in the NBA. But with that said, he’s top 2 or 3 (maybe the best…) and he should be getting more than 5 shots. Could you imagine Shaq, Ewing, Hakeem, David Robinson only getting 5 shots in a game? Shaq said the other night, that if he only got 5 shots in a game, he would beat up his teammates (kidding, I’m sure). But the point was still made. If anything, Kobe should be taking about 15 shots a game instead of his 20+ – that would leave more shots for Howard and potentially Gasol. Look at what the Big 3 of the Celtics and Heat all did: they sacrificed shots and possessions for their new teammates.

      • rexgrossman8 - Jan 23, 2013 at 11:39 PM

        Pretty sure Shaq wasn’t joking. Especially if it was the Kobester cutting into his touches.

    • kinggw - Jan 23, 2013 at 7:31 PM

      Everyone of the players you mentioned was offensively gifted. Howard is not.

      Unless he gets the ball right under the basket, he can’t do much with the ball. It would be foolish for the Lakers to consistently feed him the ball just to placate his ego. Furthermore, he’s never averaged more than 13 shots per game in his career, so I don’t know why he’s so adamant about getting the ball now.

      Howard’s main value to the Lakers or any team he is on is his defensive presence. He should always be the most dominant rebounder and defender when he’s on the court. Anything he gives you offensively is gravy.

      • borderline1988 - Jan 24, 2013 at 9:48 AM

        You’re completely wrong. The offense in Orlando was entirely centred around him. If he were injured, Orlando’s offense would fall apart. He got the ball in the post almost every single half court possession, and he was still among the most efficient scorers in the NBA. He may not be as smooth of a scorer as Hakeem or Shaq was, but he still could put the numbers.

        Take a look at his teammates. The guys around him (Rashard Lewis, Turkoglu, etc.) completely sucked on other teams. The second best player was Jameer Nelson, who at his best barely cracks the top-15 PGs in the NBA. Orlando was completely dependent on Howard on both ends of the court, or they’d be a lottery team.

        7 shots/game is not even close to being enough. Even if they’re not straight-up post touches, why not run more pick and rolls with him, or more high-low sequences with Gasol? Those high-low plays worked well with Bynum when the Lakers were winning championships; why wouldn’t it work with Howard?

        The Lakers seem completey disoriented on offense.

        I say forget the system, just start running pick and rolls with Kobe/Gasol or Nash/Howard all day, or give Gasol the ball in the post and run some action with Howard and Kobe to get easy looks.

  5. aboogy123456 - Jan 23, 2013 at 5:59 PM

    great comments by dwight, the first step to fixing your problem is admitting you have a problem.

  6. losangeleschargers17 - Jan 23, 2013 at 6:15 PM

    What is this the 20th Lakers post today?!? Well if it’s all about the Lakers…

    Wanna hear a joke?
    The Los Angeles Lakers.

    • badintent - Jan 24, 2013 at 12:48 AM

      Nice .Andrew Dice Clay at his best.
      Wanna hear another joke .?
      Lakers are the fourth best team in Cali.

  7. greenejoemean - Jan 23, 2013 at 6:19 PM

    now kobe needs to step up and admit that he is hurting the team with his selfish play.

  8. ghelton03 - Jan 23, 2013 at 6:20 PM

    This may be the defining moment in Howard’s career. He has unquestionable ability. But his focus and mental toughness have always been in question. Howard needs to decide right now, do I want to change my mental attitude, or continue with my light-hearted attitude toward my job.

    I don’t think Howard can do his job with a light-hearted attitude.

    • mogogo1 - Jan 23, 2013 at 7:03 PM

      It’s probably just semantics, but I almost think it is the opposite regarding him being “light-hearted.” He caught flak in Orlando for being too nice early in his career but he still put up numbers. I think when he’s happy he loosens up and produces. But when he’s not happy he freezes up. He has some physical issues but I think it’s mostly attitude now. He looks miserable.

  9. luz56 - Jan 23, 2013 at 6:33 PM

    Blah, blah, blah…..I thought your contract with the team or any team was to bring it every night? Hollywood Fakers got taken to the cleaners. Jim Buss ….you are no Jerry Buss.

  10. asainta - Jan 23, 2013 at 7:15 PM

    It’s the offense the are running as well as the matador defense. Kobe is a horrible defender right now. As we all expected, this is the Dwight Howard that you will see when father time catches up with him in his mid 30’s. It seems like he does not have the same exploosiveness when rebounding and going up to contest shots, so obviously he is injured. Because Howard has failed to work on his footwork and his inablility to develop a consistent “go to” move or a short range jumper to keep the defense honest, you are seing a preview to his final years in the league. He couldn’t even learn the “ice skate through the lane” move Patrick Ewing was trying to teach him when he was an assistant in Orlando, and that was basic. He should have been the one reaching out to Olajuwon to help him with his game.

  11. phreakin - Jan 23, 2013 at 7:30 PM

    Webber was a dominant big man? Did I miss something? Because you can’t be taking about Chris Webber

    • scalfor3 - Jan 24, 2013 at 2:25 AM

      C-Webb was much better offensively than Howard

  12. fearthehoody - Jan 23, 2013 at 7:52 PM

    This is why the NBA is America’s #5 sport (NFL, NCAA FOOTBALL, MLB, NCAA HOOPS). Because 2/3 players has a Dwight Howard mentality of its all about me, pay me, and if coach yells at me ill get him fired.

  13. davidly - Jan 23, 2013 at 8:03 PM

    Yeah, whatever. 17 pts at a 58 percent clip with 12 boards and two-and-a-half blocks a game may be slightly down from his career average, but coming into a new offense and trying to hold down the D alone with MWP while still trying to get your back back, I don’t see how his “not bringing it” is really the issue here.

    Yes, Boston won the first year they put it together, but the Laker starting five is a full 5 years older than that team was, and they had a bit more serviceable bench.

    Correct me if I’m wrong here, but isn’t that five years a lot when measured in 82 game NBA seasons, I mean, especially when the most of your key players are approaching their mid-thirties?

    So before training camp even began, not just I, but lots of non-experts of the non-hater variety abound in this space with skepticism regarding two key issues: the experience they had was too old, and their bench lacked any experience. And many experts stated that their window might just be this year, based on the age issue.

    Yet, here are all the experts still, continuing to ignore these issues, pretending like it’s all about players being selfish, or the coach(es) running too complex an offense or not being flexible enough and not about their never having been in a position to make good on the check the front office promised the fans a title with in the first place?

    Yes, the coaching change was added to the haphazard flow down the toilet this season, but it all started with the personnel choices since the disaster in Dallas. Not even if they had had Phil Jackson since the beginning of camp this year would they have done better than a disappointing first round exit from the playoffs. No coach could have made this team a contender because they quite simply were not one.

    This is not Laker hate. My perspective as a basketball fan is that everybody on every team in this league is in the top 500 current players on the planet. That’s pretty impressive by any reasonable standard. But to expect “Rings this year of bust” with your two most important players each being in their 17th season, and knowing full well that your defensive anchor was still recovering from major back surgery, and expecting them to log 100 games with the result that they’d be parading a trophy around for the fans in June was just utter nuttiness.

    One need look no further than ownership and management for this fiasco (and by fiasco I mean the absurd expectations, not the actual result–which should have been expected). This sharing blame crap brings to mind the 700 billion dollar to-big-to-fail bailout and the utter “surprise” that homeowners still got robo-evicted while the bankster management reaped windfalls. At least, in this case, the players get paid. But don’t be screeching your rage at them, Lakers’ fans, because they never had a chance, no matter what the experts told you.

    • jimeejohnson - Jan 23, 2013 at 9:21 PM

      Substitute the word “Celtics” for “Lakers” and the meaning of your post remains intact. Two of the NBA’s premier franchises in free fall. It’s a young man’s game unless your name is Michael Jordan or Larry Bird, and even then, your physical skills decline as you get older. As for Dwight Howard: if he had numbers like that for a team like the Knicks, he’d be touted as an MVP candidate. The bottom line is the Lakers lack the talent and youth to match teams like OKC, Grizzlies, and the Heat, among others. The Spurs seem to have the best combo of youth and veterans, although at a very young age, LeBron James can be considered a veteran along with DWade and of course, the great Ray Allen. Lakers just don’t have what it takes to compete for a championship. Whether thats good or bad is purely opinion. Charles Barkley sure ain’t bummed!

      • davidly - Jan 23, 2013 at 11:36 PM

        Yup.

  14. ghelton03 - Jan 23, 2013 at 8:24 PM

    He can’t prove it by going out in the next game and playing with passion. He has to do it every night. I doubt Howard understands that now or will ever understand it. Such a waste.

  15. ebrownwareagle - Jan 23, 2013 at 8:54 PM

    D12 does not get touches because he SHOOTS 46% from the FREE THROW LINE! So in essence, pass the ball to D12 other team foul him, send him to the line and…. It’s essentially a TurnOver! At least Bynum was 70+% from Free Throw so you just couldn’t foul him and get the ball back! WORK ON YA GAME D12!!

  16. Sherlock Sport - Jan 23, 2013 at 9:41 PM

    Congrats to Dwight, he’s now realized what everyone else has known for years. He’s an overgrown child.

  17. bucrightoff - Jan 23, 2013 at 9:47 PM

    I guess what he meant by “bring it” was getting reinjured.

  18. caeser12 - Jan 23, 2013 at 9:55 PM

    “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.”

    Then he goes out and re-injures his responsibilities (shoulder).

    Can’t make this stuff up.

    Karma is real, no matter how much Laker “fans” want to deny it.

    Howard is/was NEVER LA material, he’s not built like that.

    Believe it, and deal with it.

  19. miamatt - Jan 23, 2013 at 10:34 PM

    Apparently, “bringing it” means scoring 2 points, grabbing 2 rebounds, and getting hurt while your team gets its a$$ kicked once again.

  20. december77 - Jan 24, 2013 at 12:05 AM

    This is his 8th year in the league and his offensive game is still undeveloped. What has he improved on in the last EIGHT YEARS? Chris Webber may not have been dominant, but maybe he could teach Howard a few low post moves? At least one?

  21. progress2011 - Jan 24, 2013 at 12:19 AM

    POLITICS 101…

    D12 is managing his PR image.

    He’s trying to say the right things / politically correctness to avoid any additional distractions that would add to his bad PR from last year.

    The guy made it clear, he NEVER wanted to play with FAKE MJ…especially after dude told D12, he would be the 3rd OPTION !!!

    So, let me get this strait, I’m at the top of my career, franchise player in Orlando, All Star, I’m young -strong and ready to become the most dominant center in the league while breaking some of Shaqs records…etc, etc. etc….

    BUT

    I got some WEASEL lookin dude telling me, I’m gonna be the 3rd OPTION……REALLY !!!!

    I’d tank the season too !!! Get me OUTTA HERE !!!

    • loungefly74 - Jan 24, 2013 at 8:02 AM

      the guy appears to have no heart. just for the fact that his emotions are a constant topic says to us he is fragile.the fact that he went there tells me he wanted to win. oh…if he is worried about being the 3rd option, then he is not thinking about the big picture.

      what is D12 doing to earn more shots? oh wait, i’m talking to a mad man with his distorted hatred for the kobster. nevermind, progress. carry on…

    • december77 - Jan 24, 2013 at 4:33 PM

      When you have a LIMITED offense game AND you’re a liability to miss free throws at the end of games, you’re lucky to even be an option. GREAT players aren’t taken out of games when it matters most. He has the physical tools to be a great rebounder, shot blocker, highlight reel dunks, etc. But he lacks the SKILL to do anything else. With the game on the line, do you really want the ball in his hands? Hell no. Dwight Howard is not as great as he thinks he is. He’s not tanking the season…he’s just not that good. Can you say OVERRATED?

  22. cornbreadbbqred - Jan 24, 2013 at 12:22 AM

    Every successful coach in the NBA has known for a few years running that, if your team has built a lead or is in contention for the win near the end of the game, that you should key your defense on Kobe trying to impress his will upon the outcome by taking shots on most key possessions down the stretch.

    That is what you saw in the Lakers’ exit from the playoffs in the Oklahoma series. Role players like Robert Horry and Derek Fisher who were not afraid to take the big shot as beneficiaries of the surprise possession down the stretch where Kobe was used as an unexpected decoy, were used strategically and effectively by Phil Jackson during the championship years (yes, even when Hack-a-Shaq was the other focus of opposing coaches).

    By now, my parakeet knows that how you beat the Lakers is to call for a zone trap on Kobe during clutch. Very tough to beat anyone when they know what to expect and get to see that game after game after game during the death spiral.

    Kobe’s shot attempts go up, his shooting percentage goes down, and the clincher is that his assists dwindle at a time when that is the key to getting these rottweiler defensive schemes to eventually begin to play him and rest of his teammates honestly, as though other’s on the court besides Kobe are would-be legitimate threats to beat you. Run the tape back on the games that were close and in contention during latter periods of the skid, and the devil is in the details there.

    Too late to get Howard to feel good about learning the beauty of the pick and roll, and equally too late to get Kobe to feel like the bigger person were he to pass out of the double and triple team, and kick to ball to swung opposite court to an open shooter.

    Recall also how MJ won a few of his rings by kicking the ball in clutch to Steve Kerr and John Paxson. Okay the Lakers don’t have spot up shooters like either, but the Laker role players have been thrice as open and twice as close to the basket based upon how opposing coaches have banked on platooning against Kobe in the clutch!

  23. cpfirish - Jan 24, 2013 at 1:17 AM

    Hey Dwight you are bum…!! U should of stayed in Orlando.!

  24. rodyaugu - Jan 24, 2013 at 8:27 AM

    Is he The Rock or something?

  25. omniusprime - Jan 24, 2013 at 9:16 AM

    What exactly was “It” that Howard was supposed to bring last night? His pathetic free throwing? His tremendous shot blocking? His not whining about shot attempts? His lack of being able to play with Pau Gasol nicely? Oh yeah his bum shoulder, that’s all Howard the Lame Duck brought to the game last night.

    I’ve never seen such a sissy before. Would Kobe have left the game with a bad shoulder? Not a chance. Kobe has to be near death’s door before he doesn’t play.

    Howard has been a big disappointment this season. He just refuses to fit in with the team and show Kobe that he has the proper desire to win a championship. Howard wants to play around and smile too much. He doesn’t even have a game face to bring to the big games.

    It’s sad that Howard, or Dumbtoni, don’t understand how awesome a Twin Towers Dwight and Pau could be if Howard and Dumbtoni embraced teamwork between the two. I see flashes of brilliance once in a long while as Pau does such a great job setting up Howard with excellent passes.

    Grow up Lame Duck Howard!!!

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