Kobe Bryant’s Injury Means Lakers Are Dwight Howard’s Team for Better or Worse

I wonder what Dwight Howard was thinking after learning the severity of Kobe Bryant's injury.

You think he's looking forward to being the man, or is he dreading it?

Either way, Howard has been given the keys whether he likes it or not. This is his show now—his team and his city, as long as Kobe is stuck on the shelf.

And that's the way he has to approach it.

This upcoming stretch might be the most important year of Dwight Howard's career. It's a chance for him to prove his worth, which will end up being max dollars when it's all said and done this summer.

Being a franchise player isn't just about putting up 20 and 10. Not after already playing nine seasons in the NBA. Stats and individual production is irrelevant in Los Angeles if it's not translating to wins in April and May. 

This will be a great test of character for a guy whose character is always in question.

Imagine how quickly his "immature" label will fade if he activates beast mode, dominates the league and puts the team on his back? It shouldn't even be considered an inconceivable thought.

The guy is 6'11'', 265 with a physique like a mythological Greek warrior. And he just happens to be good at basketball.

Howard should be at full strength by next season, or as close to full strength as the man can get. And it's not like we've never seen him dominate before.

It wasn't that long ago that Howard stepped up as the go-to guy and led his team to the NBA Finals. In 2009, the Orlando Magic's supporting cast was no more threatening than the Lakers' current roster (without Kobe).

Other than Howard, the next three leading scorers were Rashard Lewis, Hedo Turkoglu and Jameer Nelson. Does that sound like a core that should be representing the Eastern Conference?

Howard managed to put a team on his back and actually make those around him better. He finished that sea...

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