LA Lakers’ Turbulent Season Is Critical to Dwight Howard Reaching Full Potential

Everything happens for a reason, right?  You'd have a hard time convincing Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard and the rest of the weary, but still breathing, Los Angeles Lakers, who have tripped, tumbled and stumbled through an extremely turbulent NBA season.

Bryant's late-game injury against Golden State Friday night unfortunately felt like the proverbial nail in the coffin for a team that's been snake bit all year.  Bryant most likely is done for the season and L.A.'s slim playoff hopes have suddenly become that much worse.

Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol, Steve Blake, Metta World Peace, Jodie Meeks, Earl Clark and Antawn Jamison watched their fallen captain slowly limp to the Lakers' locker room with three minutes to play and somehow found a way to beat the Warriors without him, 118-116.

With two games left in the regular season and no wiggle room to spare, Howard and the Lakers are on course to sneak in to the NBA postseason as the eighth seed in the Western Conference.   But now they must do it without fifth leading scorer in the NBA history.

In spite of the obvious stress and strain the team has endured as it claws its way into the playoffs, there is a silver lining from which Howard can learn and grow from.  The big center came to Los Angeles to win championships, so experiencing a bevy of bumps and bruises along the way can only benefit him as he seeks to regain his Superman status on the court.

Initially, Howard got the benefit of the doubt because he's still recovering from major back surgery that obviously stunted his abilities early in the season.   A  torn labrum didn't help either.  Add to that a fast-break, run-and-gun coach who inherited a half-court team and you have the makings of a basketball disaster waiting to happen.

Howard has complained more than once about not getting enough touches, about how the team needs to spr...

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