How Dwight Howard Propels the L.A. Lakers into Elite Defensive Team

Los Angeles Lakers head coach Mike Brown is well-regarded in NBA circles as a defensive specialist. However, in Brown's first year out in Hollywood, the Lakers weren't much to write home about defensively, allowing nearly 96 points per game during the 2011-12 season.

Dwight Howard is set to change all of that.

The three-time Defensive Player of the Year is the most intimidating force in the league today, and his ability to dominate a game on both ends of the floor makes the Lakers immediate title contenders.

Part of the Lakers’ struggles on defense last season was due to the fact that their playmakers—namely Ramon Sessions and Steve Blake—had difficulty staying in front of the elite point guards in the Western Conference: Russell Westbrook, Chris Paul, and Tony Parker, to name a few. At times, Kobe Bryant would slide over and help out on the perimeter, but more often than not, Sessions and Blake could only watch as their man drove past them on the way to the basket.

Former Lakers center Andrew Bynum altered his fair share of shots over the past few years, but he doesn't possess near the same level of speed and lateral quickness that Howard has. And now that Steve Nash (a notoriously bad defender) is running the Lake Show, expect Howard to rack up quite a few blocks as LA's last line of defense this season.

"[I]n a pick-and-roll situation defensively, he's going to help guys like Steve Nash and Kobe and Metta [World Peace] and whoever else we have on the perimeter...because that is the way the league is going," said Brown when talking about Howard in an interview with ESPN earlier this month. "Teams are playing smaller, quicker, faster...and to have a guy like Dwight involved in that or on the weak side coming over to help is something special."

An example of Howard's skill at bailing out his teammates to can be found in this clip from a recent Orlando-Oklahoma City matchup:
Article Source: Bleacher Report - Los Angeles Lakers