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Dwight Howard is taking this whole professionalism thing seriously this time

Lakers, Dwight Howard

Dwight Howard’s initial run with the Lakers (2012-13) was met with mixed emotions, as fans of the team viewed his antics to be unnecessary. Now in his second tenure with the team, the former No. 1 overall pick has accepted a role as a reserve, and he seems to be taking it seriously.

“I just want to continue to do better, continue to do what I can to help this team win, be the best person I can be every day in the locker room, on the court, in the film room, wherever we’re at,” Howard told The Athletic. “Being the best Dwight I can be. Everybody has a role on this team. And if we do our part every single day, at the end of the season we’ll be able to put ourselves in a great position. I’m just trying to do what I can every single day to make my teammates better.”

Howard, now 33 years of age, says he still likes to have fun. However, it seems he’s learned that there is a time and place for it.

“I’m the same person,” Howard said. “I love to have fun, love to enjoy life. I just separate it. There’s a time and a place for everything. I’m here for business. When I go home, that’s when I can be who I want to be. But right now, when I put on that jersey and when I come in this locker room, it’s about the Lakers. And that’s it.”

Howard has been a bright spot for the surging Lakers through the early stages of this season. In his seven appearances off the bench, he’s racked up averages of 6.7 points on a career-high 78.6 percent shooting from the field, 7.9 rebounds and 2.1 blocks in 21.7 minutes per outing.

Hopefully, Howard will be able to maintain this level of production as the season progresses.

The Lakers are riding the wave of a six-game winning streak. Their next shot at claiming a victory comes on Friday night, when they’ll serve as hosts to the Miami Heat. Tip-off inside the STAPLES Center is set for 10:30 p.m. ET, with NBA TV having live broadcast coverage.