Is Dwight Howard the Right Star to Lead LA Lakers into Unclear Future?

The Los Angeles Lakers are hoping their ability to offer center Dwight Howard more money than any other team, along with the chance to lead one of the NBA's most storied franchises, will be enough to persuade him to stay in Los Angeles.

But when was the last time you heard the words "Howard" and "leader" in the same sentence?

Howard may have the physical talent and charisma of a star, but does he have the mental fortitude and skill set to carry the Lakers into an unclear future? Not if you believe some of the rumors lately.

According to, Howard has already complained about Lakers head coach Mike D'Antoni behind closed doors, and he has made it clear that he is listening to offers from other teams, specifically the Houston Rockets and Dallas Mavericks.

The Mavericks and Rockets can't offer Howard the same type of money or prestige that the Lakers can, but they do afford him the opportunity to hide behind another star if things go bad.

James Harden and Dirk Nowitzki are the unquestioned leaders of their respective teams, and that designation will not change if Howard is added into the fold.

So why would a player of Howard's stature forgo millions and the bright lights of Los Angeles to take a complementary role with a lesser franchise? Maybe because Howard, at his core, is nothing more than a complementary player.

Howard did lead the Orlando Magic to the 2009 NBA Finals, where they lost to the Lakers in five games. But in hindsight, that achievement can equally be credited to head coach Stan Van Gundy's system and the three-point shooters Howard was surrounded by.

Howard was never asked to play the role of a traditional back-to-the-basket, low-post center, and it's a good thing, because he doesn't appear to have the skill set to do that.

For most of his career, Howard has gotten by with his physical dominance and superior athleticism, but...

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