Why Dwight Howard’s Early Return Boosts the Lakers Title Hopes

Most Los Angeles Lakers fans thought newly acquired center Dwight Howard would miss several weeks of the regular season recovering from back surgery. But according to Yahoo! Sports, Howard is aiming to return for the Oct. 30th season opener against the Dallas Mavericks.

In the article, Howard is said to have privately expressed that his back is right now at about 85 percent, but Lakers fans have to be 100 percent delighted at the prospects of seeing their new star-studded starting lineup together for the opening tip.

The Lakers have faced questions about chemistry and and how Steve Nash and Howard will fit with Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol, and it appears those answers will begin to surface much earlier than expected.

Chemistry may be the number one issue cited when dissecting the 2012-13 Lakers and their title hopes and a prolonged absence for Howard would have only increased the scrutiny.

However, an early return for Howard gives the Lakers an opportunity to work out any offensive and defensive kinks, and it also cements their status as Western Conference favorites.

Oklahoma City forward Kevin Durant has already acknowledged that the Lakers have the NBA's best team on paper, but many people have held the opinion that they would still trail the Thunder in the regular season if Howard got a late start.

Of course it really doesn't matter how a team begins a season, but it doesn't hurt that the Lakers defense will get an early boost with Howard, even if it does take a little longer for the offense to mesh.

Defense, rebounding and blocking shots are what Howard does best. It should be easier for him to make an immediate impact for the Lakers in this category and set them up for success down the road.

Most people assume the Lakers offense will eventually be dominant with Nash and Bryant in the back court, but it's never mentioned how good the defense has the po...

About the Author