Howard has been on a mission since signing to prove that he is a different player and person than the one that left the Lakers six seasons ago. Howard sparked angst amongst a lot of Lakers fans and general manager Rob Pelinka and head coach Frank Vogel know all about that.
This means they must’ve felt pretty good about Howard’s mindset to deal with the controversy of bringing him back.
Since coming back, Howard has been saying all the right things when it comes to what role he’s prepared to play for the team. It continued when Howard spoke about the on-court relationship that he and McGee need to have in order to be successful.
“The plan every time we step on the court is to be the best that we can be for this team,” Howard said of he and McGee. “It’s not often that you have two guys that play the same position that can give you the same energy and the same effort night in and night out.”
“For me, I just try to push JaVale as hard as I can every day in practice. We need each other. It’s not about who starts, it’s not about who gets the most minutes, we need each other. It’s a long season. There might be some nights where he plays more minutes than me and that’s fine as long as we’re doing whatever it takes to win.”
This is the type of mindset that teams have been trying to get Howard to have for the last decade of his career since it was clear he was no longer an elite center in this league. Now, with games actually happening, it’s starting to feel less like words and more like action.
Howard needs to keep this attitude up as the season continues because there’s no doubt that McGee will have this mindset.
Howard and McGee switching on and off the floor should be exciting for fans, and it will be fun to watch as they navigate helping this team in any way possible.