Dwight Howard Doesn’t Deserve Blame for Lakers’ Early-Season Struggles

Dwight Howard's problem isn't that he's underachieving; it's that the expectations placed on his broad shoulders were so outrageous that failure was the only possible outcome.

This isn't about making Howard into some sort of sympathetic figure, because that would be an effort in futility. Nobody feels sorry for Howard, and if I'm being honest, I'd look sideways at anyone who did.

But let's be real, shall we?

Howard underwent back surgery in April. A fact that seems to get lost when talking about the center's time with the Los Angeles Lakers thus far (h/t ESPN).

As Howard reminded Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times, he isn't even supposed to be on the court right now (via Twitter):

Dwight Howard on critics of his game: "I wasn't even supposed to be playing until January and I'm playing now. What do you expect?" #Lakers

— Mike Bresnahan (@Mike_Bresnahan) December 13, 2012 Some may see that as Howard making excuses, but it's a fact. Howard returned earlier than anyone expected that he would, and he is still working his way back toward being 100 percent.

Howard is constantly getting better, something that is evident in his numbers.

In 14 games in November, Howard had six double-doubles, and he averaged 17.5 points and 10.5 rebounds per game.


Through nine December games, Howard has seven double-doubles and he's averaging 17.4 points and 13.4 rebounds per contest.

Those are solid numbers, and he would be doing an even more efficient job of cleaning the glass if he weren't constantly forced to step up and take on penetrating guards who are consistently getting past the Lakers perimeter defenders.

Even Superman has his limits.

While there is little doubt that the Lakers are, and forever will be, Kobe Bryant's team, ESPN's Stats and Info pointed out last week via Twitter that there is a dire...

About the Author