Should Dwight Howard Sit Out The NBA All-Star Game?

Dwight Howard and Serena Winters PracticeThe longtime Lakers GM is telling Howard, “hey, we want you,” and Dwight needs to take that generosity and equally give what they Lakers paid for. Some fans and basketball greats, though, firmly believe that despite the Lakers staying strong towards Dwight, the center doesn’t want to be here. Former Lakers player Rick Fox had a lot to say recently on the topic when interviewing with ESPN:

“I am not seeing a guy that wants to be here. What Howard is giving, isn’t championship behavior.”

Laker fans are wearing thin with Howard’s act, whether it be his attitude during media or his blase demeanor. Fox continued by saying:

“The fans are more passionate about this (Lakers) than he is.”

Fox believes that Dwight should be sacrificing for the greater good of his team as other great players have done in order to win championships. Dwight has to prove to the city of Los Angeles that he is willing to do whatever it takes to win, like many of the great players that have formally shown the city of L.A. what commitment has looked like. The Lakers haven’t won 16 championships without also having high standards. Hopefully Dwight begins to fit the bill.

Dwight tends to makes excuses for his Lakers performance, when really he needs to focus. He has only been averaging 16.2 points and 11.7 rebounds this season, while in the previous three years he has been in the 20.5 ppG and 14 rpg range. His media presence lately has been atrocious. Talk about repeating what took place in Orlando, by overly complaining and dogging the Lakers players and staff in recent interviews. The team chemistry is not very strong and Dwight Howard wants his teammates to show him more support moving forward.

Unfortunately, that is also a two way street, one in where he needs to take responsibility for his actions instead of passing the buck. Remember this little bit involving his father? Embarrassing. There is surely a disconnect between Dwight Howard and the other Lakers players. Bryant has been hard on Howard this season, and the center has had a difficult time dealing with criticism. Anyone who is familiar with Kobe Bryant and his leadership knows that he is a results driven leader. He is unafraid to get into a teammates’ face in order to push them to their limits. Dwight need to realize Kobe is doing is for the betterment of the team and in turn be the best teammate on and off the court.

Dwight luckily has two of the best players in the league looking out for him. In a recent interview, Kobe has this to say when discussing issues in the Lakers system:

“We’ll figure it out,” Bryant said. “Me and Steve talked about it a little bit at the end of the game there and in the locker room a little bit in terms of how to put pressure on the defense and try to maximize [Howard] in making the defense be aware and turn their head and finding him and so forth.”

Dwight HowardDefense is and will continue to be the side of the floor that Howard has the ability to change the outcome of the game. With the injury to Gasol and backup forward Jordan Hill out for the for the rest of the season, Dwight Howard is the only available center with the Lakers becoming extremely thin in their front court. That sense of urgency is exactly why Dwight’s focus should be about getting healthy and improving his game. For the Lakers this season, there is still too much work to be done. In another post-game interview with Lakers Nation, Dwight Howard commented on the  Lakers game:

“It should be a deadly weapon. The pick and roll with me and Kobe, me and Steve, should be deadly. It hasn’t been as effective every night as we would like it to be. I understand what we’re trying to do out of the pick and roll…it just hasn’t been very effective.”

And there you have it. Howard knows the Lakers aren’t right. Lakers Nation writer Elizabeth Benson had this to say concerning Dwight’s pick and roll game:

“After being known as one of the best rollers in the NBA for pick-and-roll sets, Howard has been reluctant to execute this set this season. Instead, he wants more touches in the post, where his efficiency stats are very questionable.”

Which is why he should also understand his focus has to be with the team. Not the All Star Game. Dwight can complain about how the pick and roll isn’t working, but he also needs to realize he is part of the problem. Despite questioning his offensive positions and touches, it is on the defensive end where he can be dominant. The Lakers need this defensive advantage, as well all know Nash and Kobe both struggle defensively. The truth of the matter is that Howard is the defensive anchor of the team. Dwight has the ability to set the tone on the defensive end, just as Kobe does on the offensive end.

For those fans that believe that Dwight should play, I saw a common theme in your responses; Dwight playing in the All Star Game will give him confidence. Here is what some of you had to say:

I admit I hadn’t considered this position. The All Stars is a great honor, one that not many players get to experience. With his confidence low, participating in the All Star Games could absolutely give Howard a boost. But I still have to ask the question, at what possible cost? Dwight has been at that game before, though; these All Star Games have seen Superman more than once. I may have been more apt to being understanding if this was his first All Star performance, but seeing as it isn’t, I believe the concerns with his injuries and Dwight’s need to show commitment to the Lakers take precedence.

After examining the articles from my colleagues the past weeks, reading countless blogs, and listening to how fans of Lakers Nation feel about this season, I stand by my original conclusion. Dwight Howard, whether or not you think he deserved the All-Star bid in the first place, has the choice to commit right now to the Lakers. And that commitment comes with not playing this weekend in Houston.

Being an All-Star is an absolute honor, but the game counts for nothing. Basketball is a team sport, and Dwight Howard needs to put the Lakers before himself at this point. He can’t afford the toll of this game on his body; he’s been complaining consistently in the media about his pain. He needs to do something to show he is committed to L.A. And he needs to focus on getting back to the place he was before he hurt his back, an absolute beast in the paint. Where has Superman gone?

This game is just simply not worth it. It is a show. It is not a step towards a ring. Dwight Howard, if you are listening, please sit out.

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