Lakers News: Dwight Howard Says Lack Of Playing Time Can Take Mental Toll On Veterans
Dwight Howard, Lakers
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The recent changes in the Los Angeles Lakers’ rotation have led to the team’s veterans taking a back seat, allowing younger teammates to spend more time on the floor.

Over the last 10 games, Malik Monk and Austin Reaves clocked in the third and fourth-highest number of minutes with 296 and 268, respectively. Also, Stanley Johnson (230) featured among the six Lakers players who spent over 200 minutes on the court during that stretch — meaning players at 25 years old or younger made up half of that group.

Johnson recently said there’s “no animosity” between L.A.’s younger and older players because the former have enjoyed bigger roles lately. Still, Dwight Howard admits that a lack of playing time can take a mental toll on the more experienced players.

“Obviously, all of us want to play and contribute on the floor, so it’s been very tough for us,” Howard says.

“There’s different parts of the season where we’re playing, and we might not be in the rotation. We might miss a couple games and stuff like that, and then we might be asked to come back and play the next game and even start sometimes, so you just got to always be ready.

“You’ve got to stay professional. It’s very tough mentally to miss games as a vet and then come back and play. But at this point, whatever we have to do as a team to win, we got to be able to sacrifice and do it no matter how much it might hurt us individually. We just got to stick to it.”

Howard: Lakers’ offensive energy’s been ‘great’ in past two games

After chalking up a start and team-high 24 points in the recent loss to the Philadelphia 76ers, Howard said he liked the Lakers’ effort on the offensive side of the ball in the last two games.

“Well, I think our last couple of games, our offensive energy has been great,” he said.

“The defensive end, doing a little bit better job. There’s still some areas that we need to clean up, but the fact on the offensive end that we’re actually playing with pace and finishing around the paint and getting to the free-throw line and stuff like that, we’ve got to continue to do that.

“Defensively, they put us in some pretty good situations. We just had to really use our intelligence to try and stop them. They did a good job on the offensive end.”

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