The Los Angeles Lakers had a terrible season last year. There were many contributing factors to the team’s struggles, one of them being players refusing to buy into the system and not accepting their roles. According to head coach Mike D’Antoni, Dwight Howard was one of the culprits.
Howard never was completely healthy and refused to buy into his role. He fancied himself as a dominating low-post force the offense should run through.
“There was just a lot of conflict, emotionally,” D’Antoni said. “People were not settled in their roles. But it’s funny because a lot of times players will say ‘I don’t know my role.’ It’s not that you don’t know it, you just don’t accept it.”
Howard never accepted his, although appeasing him as a prominent low-post option also wasn’t practical because he simply wasn’t healthy enough to carry that load.
Howard has often stressed that he wants to operate in the low-post, even though he can be a whole lot more effective in different variations of pick-and-rolls. Many expected Howard and Steve Nash to utilize that, but it was a relatively rare sight.
Now Howard will be headed to the Houston Rockets, who are predominantly a pick-and-roll team. A huge chunk of the team’s offense came in high pick-and-rolls with Omer Asik and James Harden, and with Howard in the mix it would be silly not to utilize his strength and athleticism. Howard still seems determined to work with Hakeem Olajuwon in order to develop a solid post-game but he should also be featured in a lot of pick-and-roll action.