Dwight Howard played his first game in a Laker uniform tonight and he did not disappoint. Early in the first quarter Dwight got his first alley-oop courtesy of Pau Gasol. That wasn’t his only alley-opp as Kobe and Steve Nash hit Dwight with a few dimes of their own. Dwight hasn’t played an NBA game since April and while he looked a little winded and rusty he showed repeatedly how special a talent he is. A rusty, out of shape Dwight Howard makes Andrew Bynum look like Elden Campbell athletically. The Lakers with their four stars looked very promising with Dwight at the forefront of their offense. Kobe managed to lead the Lakers in scoring despite Dwight’s presence and Pau had a good game as well. Nash was alright and had an injury scare off a bad Kobe pass. Hell, even Metta Word Peace looked good (due no doubt to Metta to being in very good shape). On another note, The Lakers still lost the game. Not that it matters but the loss showed that as promising as the Lakers looked tonight they still have a lot of work to become a great team, let alone a championship team.
I haven’t watched a lot of the preseason so I’m still unsure how to feel about the Lakers supporting cast. Jodie Meeks looked good tonight, Ebanks looked alright, and Antawn Jamison looked whatever. Forum Blue and Gold, a great Lakers blog have a whole lot of stuff on the Laker pre-season including a great post on the Lakers rookies and unproven players. Here’s a link here.
Interestingly Darius Soriano makes the case that many of the Laker rookies and unsigned players like Robert Sacre, Chris Douglas-Roberts, and Darius Johnson-Odom may be more useful than some of the more veteran bench payers such as Chris Duhon and Andrew Gouldelock (I got mad when he brought up the fact that the Lakers had Gerald Green on their D-League team and let him go to the Nets where he played great).
I’m all for the move of shaking up the bench with young bucks but it is also pointed out that cutting a player will hit the Laker’s wallet even harder than it is already being hit. Which is the main reason why the Lakers are top-heavy in the first place.
Anyway I can’t wait to see this team play for real with a focused Dwight Hoard at 100%, tonight was a nice preview though. One silly question I had about the Dwight vs. Bynum experiences is whether Dwight is gonna get more alley-opps or less than Bynum. It seems like they should be close. Bynum is taller and has great hands but Dwight is much more athletic. Tonight settled it for me in my head, I think Dwight will get more easily. I think Dwight will have more opportunities with Steve Nash, Pau Gasol, and Kobe all capable of setting Dwight up. Dwight will also have more room as the Lakers are stacked out there with their starting line-up and as crazy as it sounds teams will sag off of him at times. Sorry Bynum. Also sorry about the injury. But for real that Afro is FRESH.