Dwight Howard’s Offense (And How it Helps The Lakers)

Darius Soriano —  August 20, 2012

Once the Dwight Howard acquisition became official, the first thing fans did — after praying at the altar of Kupchak, of course — was talk about how the Lakers would be a better defensive team. After all, before this past season when Tyson Chandler helped turnaround the Knick’s porous D, Howard had been the reigning 3 time defensive player of the year. And in contrasting his game with Andrew Bynum’s, Lakers fans were giddy at the prospect of having a more mobile big man that could hedge/recover in the pick and roll, still protect the paint by blocking and deterring shots, and do it all while not suffering on the defensive glass.

However, when comparing Howard to Bynum on the offensive end of the floor, many do not see an upgrade. In fact, many see Bynum as the better offensive player — or at least a player with a more polished and diversified attack. While I won’t get into who’s better, I can say that those critiques hold value. Over the years, Bynum has become one of the more polished pivotmen in the league. His combination of size, foot work, and touch around the rim make it so. Add in a burgeoning face up game and Bynum’s a fantastically efficient scorer with a hunger to bury his man.

But, that doesn’t mean Howard isn’t extremely effective in his own right. His game isn’t as aesthetically pleasing as Drew’s, but prettiness isn’t all that matters. Putting the ball in the basket consistently does and Howard does that quite well. Going into next season, we’ll find that Howard may do it differently than Bynum did but that he will boost the Lakers’ offense when he’s on the floor. Let’s explore how…

Howard in the post
One of the long held beliefs in criticizing Howard is that he “doesn’t have any post moves”. I’ve often bristled at this critique because it ignores the fact that Dwight does have a steady arsenal when working from the block, just one that is more mechanical in nature; one that is built off his ability to compromise his man with a combination of quickness and power rather than technique.

Per My Synergy Sports, Howard posted up 57.5% of the time, producing .88 points per play, while shooting 49.9%. All of these numbers are very good — they ranked him 55th in the league in this category — and in comparison to Bynum (54.6% post ups, .89 points per play, 46.2% shooting) we see that Howard produces at a level that is at least equal to (and some would argue better) than the man he’s replacing.

As mentioned, Howard uses a combination of quickness and power to set up his post work. Often times he’ll turn and face when working form the post and then jab step to get his man off balance before exploding into his move. From the left block, he loves to go middle and shoot a rolling hook and will counter with a drop step/spin move to the baseline if his man cuts off his drive. Because Howard has excellent burst and underrated feet when getting going to the rim, this primary/counter attack he’s developed is more than effective.

He also offers straight post up moves as well. When working from either block Howard will turn and face but then power dribble back into a standard back to the basket position to knock his man off-balance. From here, he can turn over either shoulder to shoot a little jump hook. From the left block he’s shown that he can hit a little lefty hook going baseline and from the right block he clearly likes to turn back over his left shoulder and shoot his righty hook off the glass. To be fair, these hook shots lack touch as he shoots them more like shot puts rather than flicking his wrist like Bynum (or Gasol) shoot theirs. But, Howard has shown he can make these shots with good consistency, regardless of how they look coming off his hand.

Overall, I liken Howard’s post up game to the boxing style of a puncher who is jab dominant but will then hurt you with his overhand right when you guard against his quick left (sort of like Lennox Lewis or Vlad Klitschko). This type of fighter doesn’t try to hurt you with a variety of punches — no upercuts, crosses, etc — he simply wears you down with his primary weapons over and over again. This may not be the most fun fight to watch, but they continue to win because they’re two trick ponies that mix up those tricks enough to do damage.

Howard in the Pick and Roll
Where Dwight is in a league of his own is as a finisher in the pick and roll. Dwight produced a staggering 1.36 points per play (2nd in the NBA) while shooting an absurd 74% in this action. If you compare this to Bynum (1.12 ppp, 57.1% shooting) you see a marked improvement, even though Bynum’s numbers are excellent. Howard’s quickness in darting into open space combined with his ability to make the difficult catch while finishing above the rim make him an absolute terror.

Beyond his finishing, however, the authority in which Howard dives into the teeth of the defense instantly draws extra defenders to him. This magnetism creates the floor spacing and passing angles his teammates feast on. With Howard on the floor the three point shooting percentages of Ryan Anderson, Hedo Turkoglu, and Jameer Nelson were all much better than when he was on the bench.

This upcoming season, I expect to see the same type of impact from Howard on his Lakers teammates. Whenever Nash and Howard share the floor, the Lakers can run a high P&R and generate a good look simply due to the fact that Howard is going to set a crushing screen and then dive to the rim where he’ll either be able to make a catch and finish/get fouled or will draw in the defense in a way that opens up his teammates. Think of the open shots that can be created for Kobe or Pau or Ron or Jamison or Meeks…I could go on and on and this only considers the Nash/Howard scenario. Change this up to Kobe/Howard or even Pau/Howard (remember the Pau/Bynum P&R that produced so many good plays?) and the options open up even more.

Simply put, the Lakers have added one of the best pick and roll finishers (and Steve Nash to help set him up) to a team that finished 27th in points per play in having the roll man finish. Howard has the ability to transform this aspect of the Lakers’ offense in a similar manner to the way we expect him to help their defense.

What about the foul shooting?
There’s no avoiding the fact that Howard is a poor foul shooter. Last season he made only 49.1% of his FT’s and is a career 58.8% shooter from the stripe. In comparison, Bynum shot 69.2% last season and is a career 68.7% shooter. In pressure situations Howard’s not someone you want at the foul line and there will be times (probably many of them) where we’re all actively rooting for Howard not to catch the ball out of fear he’ll be fouled and will have to sink meaningful free throws. There’s just no getting around the fact that Howard performs poorly in this area and as a result, the Lakers’ team percentage will be drug down by his performance at the line.

However, what’s not said enough is that one of the reasons that Howard can have such a negative impact at the line is because he gets there so often. Last year Howard shot 10.6 FT’s a game, a mark that led the league by 2 attempts a game. Furthermore, Howard also led the league in fouls drawn at a whopping 8.5 per game, a full foul and a half more than the next most hacked man. If you compare Dwight’s numbers to Bynum’s (5.6 FTA’s per game, 4.7 fouls drawn), the difference is stark in terms of who is getting pounded more.

The fouls drawn per game is particularly important here. Dwight is essentially averaging a shade over 2 fouls drawn per quarter. In the NBA, teams shoot FT’s on an opponent’s 5th team foul. By getting hacked as often as he does, Dwight not only earns himself FTA’s but does so for his teammates as well as evidenced by the fact his team’s FT rate dipped to .232 when he sat versus .327 when he was on the floor.

Dwight’s already joining a team where Kobe shot the 4th most FT’s a game (7.8 per contest). Think of how many more Kobe can shoot simply because their opponent is in the penalty and a touch foul on the perimeter or a battle with his man for post position turns into a trip to the foul line. The same can be said for Nash when he’s trying to attack off the dribble or Gasol when he’s fighting for post position or going after a defensive rebound. Or what of the cleaner opportunities these players will get due to the fact that the opponent is actively trying not to foul? Or the better shots they’ll get because the opponent’s best paint defender is saddled with fouls and on the bench?

The Lakers will surely suffer some due to Howard’s penchant for missing while taking his own FT’s. But much like when Shaq was soaking up contact a decade ago, the Lakers will also benefit in the form of extra FT’s as a team that their better shooters can feast off of.

The Big Picture
Overall, Howard won’t always look like the best offensive player. His robotic post moves will have you longing for more Pau (or wish that Bynum was still here) and his FT shooting will have you wincing at least once a game. But his work in the P&R, how he runs the floor, and his ability play above the rim are among the league’s best. Add in the fact that he grabs nearly 4 offensive rebounds a game (and will open up those chances for Pau too), is a capable passer out of the double teams he sees, and the fact that his so called deficiencies of post scoring and foul shooting still come with great value embedded, and Dwight’s going to be a great addition on the offensive side of the ball.

*Statistical support for this post from NBA.com

Darius Soriano

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50 responses to Dwight Howard’s Offense (And How it Helps The Lakers)

  1. alter -> altar

  2. The bottom line is that even IF Howard were only 50% of the offensive player Bynum is (which he is clearly not), it would still be an upgrade, given his Defense is so much better. Plus, add in the fact that he’s a BEAST in the pick-and-roll game, and you’re pairing him with one of the best to ever play the pick-and-roll game as a Point Guard, and the Lakers should be sitting pretty. If Bynum played 100% every game, I’d still prefer Bynum due to his youth and offensive polish. But Bynum has yet to find that consistency. When Bynum freaks out and busts loose for a 40/20 game, we’re all in awe of his talent, but then he often follows such outbursts with 11/7 or something along those lines – not bad, but not what’s going to get it done in the playoffs. Love Bynum’s game overall, and I’ve been a fan of his, but maybe moving to Philadelphia will be the best thing that can happen to him, and he’ll really shine there. As long as Dwight’s back holds up, however, this should be a nice move for the team.

  3. another one:
    this only the Nash/Howard scenario.

  4. Thanks for the edits. They’ve been fixed.

  5. More great analysis, Darius, particularly when it comes to FT%. Many people (particularly Ben R, at SS&R), love to denigrate Howard based on that and his post-moves, but such criticisms always seem anchored more to the fantasy league side of things, in that their myopic habit of assuming Dwight would operate in a vacuum is true of how play will affect his teammates.

    But this notion, as you’ve plainly broken down, is not the case. It may not be poetry in motion, per se, but if it gets the job done, then Dwight’s post game and FT% synergies shall still be fun to watch for those of us who know what to look for.

  6. This photo gave me goosebumps.

    http://i1268.photobucket.com/albums/jj577/LakeShow562/f46c8344.jpg

    Still can’t believe this is OUR team, We’re going to make history.

  7. Great read..

    When Dwight rolling to the basket off his screen with Steve Nash handling the ball the defense WILL pay. No one is leaving Kobe and Pau’s man may flash to Dwight giving Pau a second more for a easy pop shot. The likely scenario is team’s SF help off Metta being most likely he’ll always be on the weak side spacing the floor. Just with the threat of Howard off a PnR Ron should see an abundance of open shots. Such a simple shot may be the key to how effective our PnR will be otherwise teams will pack the paint and make us prove we aren’t the 32% 3pt shooting team from last year.

    I’m not too worried about the FT shooting drawing fouls an putting teams in the penalty makes up for it.

  8. Dwight has always been better in the post than advertised mostly because he faces up and doesn’t play with his back to the basket. If healthy Dwight will be the Lakers best offensie player in one on one sittuations and of course dynamic in the PnR with Nash. Although he won’t be a guy you can just throw it down to and expect an automatic double to get easy shots for his teammates. But Dwight will do that in the PnR when teams collapse the paint anyways. The only downside to that is the teams best shooter (Nash) won’t be shooting. With Bynum… Nash would be able to space the floor and get a lot of open shots on straight post ups.

  9. When we saw Metta at his best, April, he shot 33% from 3. That number has to rise.

    What would be your backup plan play Jamison or Kobe at the 3 more?

  10. LBC,
    Alright… That pic was pretty awesome. I might have to blow that up and paste it on the ceiling above my bed.

  11. Wonder if Kareem will be working with Dwight on his post moves. If he can do for Dwight what he did for Bynum…

    Would also like to see some numbers for Dwight’s offensive effect in transition. He’s so much faster than Bynum, I can’t imagine those numbers wouldn’t increase as well.

    Also, I’m particularly interested in how well Dwight throws outlet passes, since he gets so many defensive boards. This is pretty low on most people’s radar, but to me it’s a beautiful part of this game. I still love to see players like Duncan and Kevin Love throw them. It seems like it’d be hard to find this in the statistics though.

  12. I see Jamison as a key player for us this year. He is still a very capable scorer who can get it in bunches. I look to see him on the floor with Dwight often. Meeks is just frosting on the cake. His 3-point scoring has been pretty consistently good. This is going to be a very interesting and potentially historic season.

  13. As good as Dwight’s numbers were last season, they could have been even better had he not been playing with a back injury.

  14. “I might have to blow that up and paste it on the ceiling above my bed”

    And replace your Bynum posters? I’m not buying it.

  15. Offensively, we’ll be better off with Howard rather than Bynum because of the reasons mentioned (PnR w. Nash, etc.), but also because Howard’s agile body combined with his superior jumping ability allows him to be more active, and thus contribute offensively without the need to have the ball in his hands.

    Also, as a side note, with two of the league’s best centers in the East (Byno and Hibbert), there’s really no one who can effectively body-up Dwight defensively.

    ++ Last playoffs, Ibaka+Perkins showed they could limit Bynum (though, I don’t put too much blame on Byno; the Thunder executed well, Laker guards did not). Switch him with Howard and you’ve got a Gasol/Howard dynamic that can hurt Ibaka/Perkins. You’re talking about a guy who’s an Ibaka on steroids here (Howard). And Perkins is probably going to be on Howard, but that match-up is a dunk waiting to happen. Howard can do something Bynum couldn’t consistently do [vs OKC]–that’s free himself and find space within the paint. Getting fronted in the post, as OKC tried on Bynum in the playoffs, is not going to be effective with DH in the paint. If he’s active, there’s no way to confront him, he’s too good of a player, he’s going to find ways to contribute offensively (something you can’t always say about Bynum).

  16. Again, presuming he’s healthy…..

    There are people here who are already buying rope to hang up the 17th banner. Let’s see Dwight play a game before we count our titles. Let’s see how Nash’s back looks after a long season, or how Kobe’s legs appear, Pau’s strength, etc.

    Mitch made some fantastic moves on paper. But games are won on the floor.

  17. 16,

    You are partly right Chris J if you look at their Achilles heel which is rather calculated pessimism. On the other picture, when Nash, Jamison, Howard and Meeks joined the Lakers there is abound optimism based on their individual performance from their former teams.

    Now on the thread, there is mentioned of individual comparison between Dwight and Bynum’s offense – again there is fallacy with that comparison. I just named the new players with Dwight and his new PG is Nash (not Nelson). Bynum’s PG is Blake/Sessions, I don’t think we can compare them to Steve Nash. The latter attracts double team while the presence of Jamison and Meeks attracts a full time guard as well or else they will drill the three’s. If you want to compare Bynum and Dwight, it has to be on individual performance that is FT% because they are on their own on the FT line.

    Going back to Dwight offense, he is now in a new environment, a new team and a new teammates. We don’t know the synergy or confusion that will materialize. They have to play in order to gauge their effectiveness as a team, all past empirical data should be put in the dustbin of history. Everyone including Bynum starts on zero when the season starts.

  18. @#16…

    Don’t spoil the anticipation. We all know that what you say is true, but it’s fun to dream in August!

    I’m not bashing Bynum, but I’ve never really thought that he has such an outstanding post game. The best that I ever saw Andrew play was in the brief period of a few weeks before his 2nd knee injury. He has never regained the athleticism he had prior to that setback, IMO. I saw a player who relied mainly on his size this past season. And I saw him get stopped at point blank range in the OKC series because of his lack of quickness. He’s good, not still could use some more polish on his offensive game.

  19. 1/2decaf1/2regular August 20, 2012 at 2:03 pm

    Let’s not forget offensive rebounding. Dwight averages about 4 per game or 300 per season.. Bynums barely 3 per game or 192 his only full healthy season last year. Thats an additional 110 offensive possessions.. I’m no mathematician but that alone could equate to at least 3-5 wins?

  20. On my previous comment, the last sentence s/b “He’s good, BUT still could use some more polish on his offensive game.”

    Darius makes some great points as to how D12’s ability to draw fouls will benefit the team. And who knows, maybe just being around such a great free throw shooter as Steve Nash will have a positive effect on Dwight.

  21. Who have the Lakers hired to work with Howard on his free throw shooting?

  22. Skills are as god given as athletisism. People have worked with Dwight on FTs and skills inthe post for a while. One can improve their skills and athletisism only so much.

  23. 1/2decaf1/2regular: good post.

    Lakers can use those extra possessions if they are going to be at the bottom of the league in creating turnovers again.

  24. Cloud,

    Since when have I denigrated Howard based on that? Either you are citing me entirely out of context or have me confused for someone else. Regardless, I find your accusation to be more or less blatantly wrong and certainly not in line with my thoughts on Howard.

  25. I expect to see a lot of flexibility when Pau and Howard are on the floor together. Many ways to exploit the scheme of the opposition,because the Lakers have Nash and many strengths. Wish Bynum the best,and I think the current Philly personnel are a better fit for his talents than he had with the Lakers. Could easily see 22 and 14 from him.

  26. Unless Dwight adopts underhanded FT’s, I don’t think his FTs will improve drastically.

    But I don’t think anyone will risk ridicule to increase their FT%, even if it will cost them a championship.

  27. Is he 55th in the league in post scoring or 5th. The latter is good, the former not so much.

  28. I jusy hope DH works REALLY hard on his FT.

    And that Kareem works with him, please Jim…

  29. Mo,
    It’s 55th. Which puts him in the top 12% of all players in the league. If you don’t think that makes him a good post player, we’ll just have to agree to disagree.

  30. @Vegas #11 Hakeem might not be available for Dwight as he might be busy backing his statements while training JaVale McGee. http://www.cbssports.com/nba/blog/eye-on-basketball/19815285/hakeem-olajuwon-has-outrageous-expectations-for-javale-mcgee

    On the thread, the acquisition of Howard would bring Pau Gasol back to the post and allow him to be the 2008-2009 Pau Gasol we have seen. Considering that Dwight is more effective in P&R and post up facing defenders, our best back to the basket post player will be Pau Gasol and Kobe.

    With the acquisition of Nash and Howard I can see so many effective plays for the Lakers.

  31. I wonder if Kobe’ll let Nash shoot the technical free throws this season when they’re both on the floor.

    Nash is the better statistical free throw shooter, but Kobe traditionally has ignored others in the past – namely Sasha, who was also better.

  32. Nash is the better statistical free throw shooter, but Kobe traditionally has ignored others in the past – namely Sasha, who was also better.

    Nash obviously has a level of gravitas that Vujacic never did, and is a phenomenal career FT guy, so we will see. IMO this is the kind of thing that is on Brown–who shoots techs is the sort of thing the coach decides, and he needs to do it in a way that avoids waves or controversy. This is a small piece of the managing egos part of the gig.

    If Kobe is shooting the techs when Nash is out there, the Haters in the media will go to town about it.

  33. 32 was me–thought it got lost, so resubmitted.

  34. @ Edwin Gueco — I would not call concerns about a guy coming off of a season-ending back injury that later required surgery “rather calculated pessimism,” nor would I describe my thoughts in such a manner when looking at a soon-to-be 39-year-old player whose history includes back problems. You don’t remember those scenes of Nash lying prone on the Phoenix sidelines, needing to lie flat on the floor rather than sit in a chair because his back was bothering him?

    Likewise, Pau has been visibly slowed come playoff time the past two seasons, and Kobe is nearing his 1,400th career game, and has had knee issues in recent seasons. Both are coming off of a lengthy Olympic run, which means more mileage and less rest over the summer.

    Those men’s health is a completely valid concern this team will face, no different than Blake’s recent history of inconsistent shooting, Ron Ron’s spotty offensive game since joining the Lakers, or Brown’s coaching decisions. To say such worries are calculated pessimism is a Pollyanna approach at best.
    I’m not tossing out wild theories like, “What if Kobe flipped his motorcycle on the 405.” Their health is a legit issue.

    At their age, the Lakers’ key players are much more susceptible to injury than in prior years. To get through this season intact would be wonderful, and I hope it happens. But we shouldn’t downplay the risks simply because some people are giddy over some seemingly positive moves by the front office. There are still a lot of games to be played.

  35. Robin – I knew it was you. No one would mistake the hyphen for anyone else. ;-)

  36. Chris J @16: You are correct that this team has much to prove, and the scheduling of parades is premature. That said: Titles can’t be won in off season, but they can be lost. Take last year for example. Many were in denial, but last year’s team had almost zero chance at a title. This year is different as we are the best team (or at least top 3). This realistically means we have about a 35% chance to win the championship. So yes – the parade schedule is premature, but in the off season, it don’t get no better than this !

  37. It is always funny to me when people say Howard is a bad offensive player. His last healthy season he averaged 23ppg for a championship contending team and shot near 60% from the field! If he is a bad offensive player I guess most of the league must be utterly incompetent.

    Darius has it right with the boxing analogy — Howard doesn’t try to do a lot of different things and should work harder to develop more skills. But he is still one of the most effective offensive players in the league. It seems like too many Howard critics can’t tell the difference between prettiness and productivity.

  38. Yo all wonderful people… you are awesome… I am content myself reading your comments… glad to see the regulars are here, though I am still missing the great ones… from LA Times, during the days of the kamentsky bros..

    Go lakers!!!

  39. @ Robert — Agreed.
    I am most excited about the Meeks deal, believe it or not. Howard (if healthy) will be an upgrade, but Bynum was still better than most centers last year. The 5 spot wasn’t L.A.’s shortcoming.

    The real thing that killed the Lakers was an inability to shoot from outside. Now with Meeks opening the floor, and Nash spotting up when a big gets doubled — that just opens up a whole new world.

    I just hope everyone is healthy to keep up with OKC’s young legs, and maybe LeBron’s, come June. This summer definitely set the table better than the past two.

  40. Robert,

    I would put it at about 20-25%/5-1/
    4-1 due to the physical concerns Chris J details. But yes, Kupchak and Buss could not realistically have done any better than they did. Your “Olympic Relay” analogy was apt. But Brown has some stiff competition from other coaches in the third leg, and we will have to hope no one pulls up lame in the anchor leg.

  41. Excellent write up Darius. Thanks for giving us a teaser for what we can look forward to seeing this year!

  42. While I focused on offense for this post, I’m still a firm believer that the Lakers’ undoing last season was on defense. As I’ve written before the Lakers’ D slipped badly towards the end of the season and into the playoffs. They were slightly better against OKC (who, to be fair is an elite offensive team) but the point remains: they needed to find a way to play better D next year. Howard helps in that regard tremendously; his strengths – quickness in both the half court & in transition – were areas that Bynum was not strong in.

  43. Howard is much like LeBron. He may lack the refinement Bynum (Kobe) has, but is still nonetheless just as, if not more, effective thanks in part to his sheer athleticism.

    As for pessimism, I think the Heat are the only team where pessimism has no place at all. Which, in other words, mean that every other team has much to worry about if their goal is to win a championship. The reigning champions have gotten better, and last year was somewhat freakish for them considering all the injuries they had throughout the playoffs.

    So while there’s no doubt that we’ve made enough moves for calculated optimism, I’d say our chance to win it all will require us winning at least 3~4 games in the playoffs that we normally won’t win.

  44. Well, Chris J as I said in previous post that you are partly right as my former blog friend Lakertom would put it as glass half empty.

    Well, Lakers just invested more than 100M on Lakers salaries alone without luxury levies yet and we don’t know how much will cost them when the new CBA rules apply in 2013, I think barring unforeseen circumstances, our team made a tremendous stride in acquiring Nash and Howard. If you viewed it as dangers, i look at their acquisitions as opportunities and I would take those risks of being a pollyanna any day if the players Nash and Howard backbones compared to Andrew knees, lethargic in defense and lackadaisical attitudes.

    True, on what you said that it is premature to jump into conclusions of Championship however, we’re in a town wherein if our team does not have the O’Brien trophy, it is a lost season. Laker owners invest to win not just co-exist with other teams. The moves this summer optimized the remaining time of Kobe; extend another year on the confidence on Pau Gasol; take a risk on Nash age plus back pains with 30M deal on the table; take a risk on Howard even for one season only and accept his possible limitation due to rehab, the same would be true with Jamison if this is a lost cause for him, it will be a one year deal only; extend another year on the aging Artest/Peace. Lakers did not exercise their amnesty, in fact added more weights.

    In conclusion, there is a lot of gamble here – a calculated risk of being an optimist. It is just the nature of the beast of being the dominant team in Los Angeles. If we were Clipper fans, being in the playoff was already a win-win season. Being a Laker fan for eons, this is our time to be happy. We overcome our skeptical feelings on Mitch & Jim after they hang on to dead beat scrubs from: Tierre Brown, Atkins, Smush, Kwame, Cook, Luke, Mihm. A mention of Nash in July and Howard in August, it’s a revival of 21st Century Showtime. This summer it is just hell to be a Laker fan so why worry?

  45. Darius Soriano is bringing legitimacy to the Bleacher Report one article at a time! Couldn’t agree more with your opinion about Dwight on both sides of the ball.

    http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1304732-how-does-the-lakers-roster-deal-with-last-seasons-defensive-shortcomings

  46. Hi guys,

    Great article and discussion.

    FT% is obviously a major ting, especially at the end of games. But I have never understood why you would fould someone to put him in a situation that results in a scoring percent above 50%. That is still a lot better than your average shot on FG-attempts.

    So unless you are in the clutch, and the opponent needs at least 2 points, then how can it be effective to “hold your opponent to a scoringpercent of 58.8%” (Howard’s career FT-average)?

    You are still racking up fouls that might send Kobe and Nash the line later, might prevent you own bigs from playing max-minutes, preventing your own team from running the break on a miss, and giving the opponent very solid production without breaking a sweat.

    Of course sending Bynum to the line is better than Howard, but it is still pretty nice to get Howard there…

    Please enlighten me :)

  47. I, too, feel that the upgrade from Bynum to Howard on the defensive side of the ball is the true key to how much better this trade is going to make us.

    I always viewed Bynum as:

    1. Superb one-on-one defender in the post

    2. Okay help defender
    (Hindered by his lack of speed/effort coming over to assist and slowness on getting back to his own man after the help.)

    3. Awful Pick-and-Roll defender. (Though, to be fair, he’s never really had a good defender at PG to help out, but he consistently just sat six feet back on the pick-and-rolls instead of “showing” and recovering)

    4. “Seven Deadly Sins” level bad transition defender. (Partially based on speed, but also largely based on lack of effort getting back on defense.)

    Dwight has no defensive weaknesses. Even if you assume that Bynum is a slightly better defender in 1:1 post defense due to his greater size, Dwight is light years better as an overall defender because he is so much harder to neutralize by doing things like involving him in the pick-and-roll and making him run up and down the court.

    Dwight is KG with actual physical muscle mass and size.

    Offensively, the player Dwight most reminds me of is, and this may surprise folks, Lebron James in years previous to this last one. For years people criticized James for not doing more to develop a post game and relying so much on just his pure athleticism.

    But the counter always was, “Sure, he would be even better if he had a post game. But you’re nitpicking given how good and efficient he is offensively based on that pure athleticism alone.”

    Like James, Howard is a physical specimen who is just athletically superior to pretty much anyone he faces. Sure, it would be nice if he had a vast array of moves like Tim Duncan, but why quibble when he’s at least as efficient offensively as any other big man in the league and is the world’s best defending big-man?

    And, while people have thrown out the idea of Howard working with Kareem to develop his post game, I’ll throw out a couple of other names that Howard will be working with on a regular basis who have half-decent post games that Howard could learn from.

    Pau Gasol
    Kobe Bryant

  48. Hey Guys, Darius you are absolutely right #48. Considering MB was supposed to be a defensive guru the Lakers undoing was there defense last year. We had leads in the 4th quarter and couldnt make stops. We lacked cohesiveness continuity and athleticism. MWP and Kobe are waning defensively, the team as a whole lacked the athleticism to help cover each others mistakes. D12 is HUGE upgrade athletically over Drew. Not only does he have an appetite and a hunger defensively that Drew lacked, he has the lateral movement and quickness to help where Drew simply had size. TBH the Lakers are still lacking defensively from a lateral movemement staying in front of you opponent standpoint (other than D12.) MWP and Kobe are good (not great anymore) but Pau and Nash cant stay in front of a mirror on D. I wonder where 4th qtr stops are going to come from?

  49. Who have the Lakers hired to work with Howard on his free throw shooting?

    They should get Shaquille O’Neal. Shaq probably has heard more about FT shooting than the rest of the league combined, I’m sure that’s what his Ph.D. is in. He can explain it all day long, just can’t do.

  50. Dwight has a more than fleshy offensive game.

    I still don’t understand what “great back to the basket – big man game” means, not entirely in this era of big men. Hakeem Olaj, Shaq and the like all exhibited great post game, tremendous footwork and statistically efficient games. How many of them of late showed GREAT freethrow shooting? And even then, Andrew’s lack of offensive consistency and aggressiveness, prove that he can’t even be relied to in THAT department when he and Dwight shared a similar attacking rate, just Dwight created more contact (because his quickness to the pick n roll and aggressiveness demand that you proactively attack his body, hand, elbow, to stop his deadly hooks or jab steps). Bynum’s offense was more regarded as the prototypical beefy-sequential zone-everybody-look-the-hell-out guy, but he rarely showed up and because of how the team was, without a point guard and without additional help for Bynum, wasn’t useful.

    Dwight has a confidence and enough quickness and passing ability to make himself an additional playmaker in the post and helper as opposed to Bynum who didnt want to do it even when he COULD do it. This will prove very useful for guys in the wing that are open, like Metta, Antwan, Jodie, Kobe and Nash, while Gasol would also benefit.