Kobe Bryant and Mike D’Antoni Can’t Afford to Freeze Out Dwight Howard Any More

The Los Angeles Lakers fell to the Miami Heat 107-97 in a game that can't really be described as a bad loss given the circumstances, but it was just another game where Dwight Howard was used lightly compared to his past.

For the duration of the season there's been an incredible phenomenon going on, as Kobe Bryant has showed off an ability to play a completely different game, leading to heaps of praise along the way.

Meanwhile, Howard has joined a team that he's expected to be the future of, yet they're treating him like the third or fourth option on defense.

I don't want to come across like I'm defending the immaturity, and at times lack of effort, but it's kind of hard to imagine a guy like him accepting that role quietly. He's gone from being the focal point in Orlando, to being the guy who shoots just 10 times a game.

On the one hand you have to imagine that he somewhat expected this, especially when thinking about him playing alongside Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol, but expecting the change and accepting the change are two very different things.

Then you can go down the roster and look at the sacrifices that other players have made. Gasol has moved to the bench (before his injury), and Steve Nash is at times nothing more than the league's most underutilized spot-up shooter.

However, the circumstances in which those two guys find themselves in are completely different.

Gasol is the 32-year-old big man who has been nearly traded time after time over the course of the past year, so it should be a bit easier for him to accept a lessened role, which he was fine to do before his injury.

Meanwhile, Nash came to the Lakers to win a championship. It doesn't matter if he's running the point, shooting, coming off the bench or acting as their assistant coach. As long as he's helping the team get better, you've got to imagine that he's going to be happy.


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