Dwight Howard: Missing Preseason Will Hurt Lakers’ Potential in 2012

With Dwight Howard missing training camp and most likely the entire preseason, we may never see how high the ceiling is for the 2012 version of the Los Angeles Lakers.

According to the New York Daily News, Howard's rehabilitation from back surgery will, at minimum, keep him out of the beginning of training camp and the team's first preseason game. The team hasn't set a timetable, but his return by the season opener on October 30 is far from a sure thing at this point.

For a Lakers team that did everything short of a complete overhaul this offseason, this is disappointing news. The Lakers are still a team that is worthy of the title "contender" and possibly even "favorite," but the absence of Howard in training camp puts the team at a disadvantage that could have lasting effects on the entire season.

It's not as though the Lakers don't have enough talent to win without Howard. The core of Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash and Pau Gasol is enough to make them a playoff team—the key for this team will be chemistry.

Kobe has never played with a point guard who has nearly the same skill set as Nash. For years, Bryant has been used to having the ball in his hands and will need to adjust to playing with a true pure point guard.

The move to Nash at the point should also mean a more up-tempo style; again, not Kobe's forte or something the Lakers have been built around for a long time.

In short, the Lakers will need to make adjustments from how they've played throughout the Kobe era to accommodate the new talent that they've brought in.

Unfortunately for the Lakers, Howard won't be available when these adjustments should be made—the preseason.

Instead of establishing a style of play and gelling before the season, Howard will be forced to assimilate into the Lakers' game plan as the season rolls along.

For the most of the West's top teams, chemistry won't be an issue.

Article Source: Bleacher Report - Los Angeles Lakers