Originally written on With Malice  |  Last updated 10/22/14
Ok.  Down 1 versus the Spurs.  No surprises there... howver this time - right here, right now - is a perfect place for Dwight Howard to step up and be the player that he once was, that we all thought he could be. That's not to say he hasn't been the guy that we Lakerfans thought we were getting pretty good, but it's absolutely fair to think that he isn't quite the same player that he *can* be. Whilst it's true that physically Dwight has struggled this season - he was quite obviously not even 80% when he returned at the beginning of the season - I do think that a very large part of the problem was above the shoulders.  Dwight has copped one hell of a beating in the last 18 months.  This for a guy who loves to be loved has had an impact.  Additionally, I think playing with a hard taskmaster (Kobe, not Mike) has taken a toll as well.  I believe that a large part of the struggles Dwight's had during the season are mental/emotional.  And I think he can recover from it. Now's the time for Dwight to really put his stamp on the Lakers franchise that could well be his playground for a while to come.  No Kobe, playing against the Spurs... and up against Father Time Duncan - Dwight should be one of the most dominant players on the floor whenever he's out there.  Now, as far as a D12-reclamation-project, LA doesn't even need to win the series.  But they have to compete, and Dwight has to be the primary reason. This happens, and the future post-Kobe starts to look better.  Hell, I know that there's a chance that Howard doesn't re-sign with LA - it's absolutely not a sure bet - but it's likely.  More money, a fanbase starting to come around... and I'm not sure what the repercussions would be for his persona should he leave the league's premier glamor franchise because "there's too much pressure to win". It'd be a helluva different place 'round LA with Dwight as the key guy.  I'm not sure you can get two more diametrically opposed characters than KB#24 & D12... but it is what it is.  Just happy to be a fan of a franchise who are enthusiastic about competing for a title each and every season.
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

NFL to start airing its own anti-domestic violence PSAs

Ex-Bronco John Boyett punched cabbie, told cops to call Elway

Former NFL QB still feels effects of concussions every day

Robert Klemko given four-week suspension from The MMQB

Michael Vick: Percy Harvin won't be a monster here

Robert Griffin III 'guaranteed' to be back in Week 11

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Urlacher: Cutler paid like elite QB, hasn’t produced like one

Hoyer doesn’t think about getting benched for Manziel

Cardinals kicker blew $1,500 signing bonus on headphones

Ainge: Draft lottery reform would be 'better for the game'

Royals take Game 2 to even series with Giants

Report: Roger Goodell will have to testify in Ray Rice case

PK Subban as Michael Jackson at Canadiens' Halloween party

On Kevin Love, Kyrie Irving and embracing newfound roles

One Direction promotes tour by acting like bandwagon NFL fans

Jimmy Howard unveils pink mask for 'Hockey Fights Cancer'

Louisville Athletic Dept. asking for donations at gas pump

Falcons make huge mistake with London infographic

DeMarco Murry surprises Cowboys linemen with iMacs

Jimbo Fisher's son reps for Winston on 'Superhero Day'

WATCH: Steve Ballmer freaks out while shown on Jumbotron

AUDIO: Rex Ryan pranks Sammy Watkins on conference call

Top storyline for each Week 8 NFL game

WATCH: Giants pitcher yells at Salvador Perez after HR

Lakers News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Are sports leagues finally getting serious about domestic violence?

Brian Urlacher rips Jay Cutler

On Kevin Love, Kyrie Irving and embracing newfound roles

Top NFL storylines: Week 8

Kiffin's mom worried for son's safety

Report: Goodell will have to testify

Penguins do 'O Canada' following tragedy

UEFA Champions League midway report: Groups A – D

Porn star: No one parties like Janikowski

Report: Expect Florida to make a run at Bob Stoops

The San Francisco Giants are zombies

10 bold predictions for NFL Week 8

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.