Dwight Howard has brought back some monumental pressure to the Lakers team that has been missing since they won their last title a couple years ago. With that comes the expectation that Howard will continue the insane luck the Lakers have had with acquiring big time big men. Kareem, Wilt, Shaq, Mikan, etc., and now Howard. Can Dwight possibly stack up to those mentioned previously? It won’t happen without at least a couple more titles.
The one thing that Kareem, Wilt, and Shaq (and even Andrew Bynum) have in common other than their size is the titles that each brought to the Lakers. If you want to be a great Laker big man you can’t possibly just put up good numbers year after year and make a few NBA finals. That is what you can do when you are with a franchise like Orlando. Unfortunately, for Dwight he is in a win a title or don’t expect great respect from Laker fans situation. Not that that is all bad.
Howard hasn’t signed any kind of extension with the Lakers yet. Meaning that he could leave after one year in purple and gold. I am sure all Laker fans would hate themselves for rooting for a guy for one year just to see him leave, title or no title.
There are a ton of factors that will help Dwight in his quest to join the god-like stratosphere of Laker big men. First, he has Kobe Bryant on his team. Even if Kobe’s career is dwindling down, the guy can still get it done. Second, Steve Nash wants to win a title before he hangs it up and as far as I am considered has been the best point guard in the league this century, so far at least.
Let’s not forget one major thing, Dwight is coming off major surgery. My expectations for him from the start of the season to the All-Star break will be much different from my expectations post All-Star game until game 7 (if necessary) of the NBA Finals. He needs to make sure that he is ready for a deep run in the playoffs. If the Lakers are going to win a title this season they are going to need him to be 100% when the playoffs start.
The Dwight Howard/Laker experiment is going to start before you know it and let’s hope that when Dwight Howard retires, he does it as a Laker and the comparisons to the other great Laker big men are there. The top of the pyramid is already crowded by past greatness, but there is always room for more to come. Dwight Howard and the Lakers are going to be a threat this season. The Heat, Thunder and every other NBA team should be prepared for a dog fight for the title.