You can’t even count all of the differences between Dwight Howard’s first and second stints with the Los Angeles Lakers.
The first time around back during the 2012-13 campaign, Howard had his issues in Los Angeles and clashed with his teammates, from Kobe Bryant to Steve Nash, as a result.
Howard posted good numbers, averaging 17.1 points, 12.4 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game, but his overall impact wasn’t really felt, and the Lakers, who were viewed as title contenders going into that season, won just 45 games and were swept out of the first round of the playoffs (Bryant was out with a torn Achilles in that series).
Now, seven years later, Howard is a shell of the player he once was, but he also seems much happier in his second go-around in LA and has accepted his role as a big off the bench.
But perhaps Howard’s lack of success during his initial run with the Lakers wasn’t all his fault?
Lakers owner Jeanie Buss seemed to blame former head coach Mike D’Antoni for Howard’s struggles back in 2012-13, saying that D’Antoni — now the head coach of the Houston Rockets — “didn’t respect his game and wasn’t going to put him in a position to succeed.” See for yourself:
Shots fired at Mike D'Antoni, who just won West coach of the month after the Rockets scrapped playing with a center entirely. (Also worth noting: Dwight Howard is having success in the second tenure with the Lakers in large part because he finally stopped demanding post touches.) https://t.co/8ze6t8SiIz
— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) March 3, 2020
It’s easy to blame D’Antoni nearly a decade after that debacle of a campaign, but the fact of the matter is that there were numerous reasons why Howard’s first rodeo in Hollywood did not go according to plan.
Remember: Howard was coming off back surgery at the time, and it was clear that he had a lot of problems with Los Angeles to begin with. That’s why Howard bolted the Lakers for the Rockets in free agency that ensuing summer, but now the big man is enjoying his time back in Hollywood.