Doc Rivers raves about Dwight Howard and says the Los Angeles Lakers don’t reach the NBA Finals without him.
Drafted number 1 overall in 2004, Dwight Howard was the league’s best big man for more than half of a decade. After leading the Orlando Magic to the NBA Finals in 2009, the future looked bright for the Magic and Howard.
Unfortunately for him, the NBA has steered away from big men that have an offensive game as traditional as his. The league is now trending in the direction of floor spacing big men. Players with Dwight’s skillset are being left behind.
However, fate came knocking at the door when the Los Angeles Lakers signed Dwight Howard in 2019. Fast-forward a year later, Howard has clinched his first ever championship with the Lakers.
Doc Rivers praises Dwight Howard for his play in the WCF.
Make no mistake, Dwight Howard did not get a free ride to his first ever Larry O’Brien trophy. He was an integral part of the Lakers’ second unit and provided solid defense in the paint, while notching nearly 8 points per game.
Doc Rivers commended Dwight Howard for his play saying, “Last year was a resurrection for Dwight Howard. He couldn’t get signed and then wins a ring with the Lakers. They don’t get to the NBA Finals without Dwight in that Denver series.”
— Hoop Central (@TheHoopCentral) December 26, 2020
This is of course in reference to Howard’s spectacular play in the WCF against the Denver Nuggets. His production in that series came mostly from the defensive end of the floor.
Nuggets big man Nikola Jokic couldn’t get going as Dwight matched up well against Jokic’s bullyball style of play.
The Philadelphia 76ers snagged Dwight from the Lakers during this offseason. This was a smart pickup for them as Joel Embiid finally has a reliable backup center to lean on. Howard can also be that veteran in the locker room who takes on a mentorship role for the young guys.