Lakers center JaVale McGee describes chemistry with Dwight Howard
LOS ANGELES – Following the devastating knee injury to DeMarcus Cousins before the 2019-20 NBA season got underway, the Los Angeles Lakers were put in a tough position. The team had to replace Cousins and only had limited options, but fortunately, Dwight Howard was there for the taking and willing to accept a lesser role to return to Los Angeles.
Although some were skeptical about Howard’s return, the three-time Defensive Player of the Year has exceeded expectations 11 games into the season. JaVale McGee and Howard have been sharing time at the center position and have been an impressive duo thus far with budding chemistry and selfless attitude.
“If I’m having a bad game, then he’s picking me up,” McGee said of his chemistry with Howard. “If he’s having a bad game, then I’m picking him up. If we’re both having a great game, we’re winning the game. It’s pretty good; I like it. I also like the fact that we can just keep it big in the game all the time.”
Along with an impressive start to the season, which includes Wednesday’s blow-out win over the Golden State Warriors, McGee and Howard are trying to change the way centers are viewed in the NBA today. McGee talked about how the Warriors have made it more difficult to be valued at the center position and how he and Howard plan to change that.
“I feel like because of Golden State, the whole league has gone away from the standard big man, so me and Dwight have definitely been working hard to bring it back, just letting people know that it’s necessary for a big man in the game,” McGee said.
McGee, who won a title with the Warriors, received high praise from his former team following the win over Golden State. Steve Kerr clearly thinks highly of the veteran center and his game.
“JaVale was great with us for two years,” Kerr said of McGee. “He’s a force in the paint; he’s got such long arms, he’s athletic, he’s got great hands. When he gets near the ball, he grabs that thing and stuffs it home. He’s a really good player.”
At 9-2 after 11 games, the Lakers are proving to be as advertised with players all over the roster, making an impression early and often this season. LeBron James and Anthony Davis may be getting the bulk of the credit for this team’s success, but players McGee and Howard are showing just how good this team is across the board.