Dwight Howard: All-Star Center Faces More Pressure Than Any Other Lakers Star

The Los Angeles Lakers' chances to upend the Miami Heat as NBA champions next season comes down to Dwight Howard. If he plays like basketball fans have grown accustomed to, the Lakers will waltz their way to the NBA Finals. But if he doesn't, then their chances are much more murky.

That places a tremendous amount of pressure on D12's shoulders. There's no reason to think he can't handle it, but there's no doubting that it's there.

Los Angeles' "Big Four" is in "win-now" mode.

Kobe Bryant is old for 33 years old, having enjoyed a 16-year career and five NBA championships already. Steve Nash has never won a title, but his 38-year-old legs don't have many more miles left to give, and Pau Gasol has never been "the guy" in Los Angeles.

That places a tremendous weight on Howard's shoulders. He's got the personality to excel in this situation, but Los Angeles can be a game changer. 

Not only is Howard expected to be the Lakers' leading producer, but they gave up their best young piece to get him. It's easy for Lakers fans to praise the move to acquire Howard now, but what if things don't go as planned? All of the sudden losing Andrew Bynum to Philadelphia could seem regrettable.

Howard is the difference maker for the Lakers. The only team with an answer for him is now Philadelphia, and it certainly isn't Miami. With the NBA championship as the ultimate goal, he's the ultimate chip to have in their corner especially with the Heat's meager situation at center.

The pressure will be placed on the collective shoulders of the "Big Four," but Howard holds the brunt of that. 

Kobe doesn't face much. As I said earlier, he's already taken Los Angeles to five NBA titles. He's paid his dues. Gasol is a very good, but not a star, player, and Steve Nash is past his prime. The Lakers gave up four draft picks to acquire the veteran point guard, but he still doesn't carry Howa...

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