Not that long ago, Dwight Howard was a prime example of a once-dominant player who is unable to accept a lesser role on an NBA team. But after this mindset got him bouncing around the league in recent years, Howard made peace with not being the focal point of the offense.
Howard, who is an eight-time All-Star, showed a willingness to be a role player last season with Los Angeles Lakers, and this decision got him his first NBA title. Now, the 34-year-old big-man appears to be ready to do the same with his new team, the Philadelphia 76ers.
Speaking with reporters on Wednesday, Howard said that he’s willing to play in the role 76ers deemed best and will do “whatever” the team asks him.
“I would have loved to be the guy to score all the points and rebounds, but my team needed me for a specific purpose, and that was to provide the spirit and energy on and off the court,” said Howard. “I think I did a pretty good job at it, and whatever this team asks me to do, I’m willing to do it.”
Dwight Howard signed with the Lakers’ to a non-guaranteed minimum contract at the beginning of the 2019/20 season after being traded three times and released twice in the past three years. Many were skeptical of how Howard will accept coming from the bench for the first time in his career, but learning from his past experiences, he took it pretty well.
Howard proved crucial for the Lakers’ second unit, providing defensive presence and helping the team remain engaged while the starters were sitting out. He averaged 7.5 points and 7.3 rebounds per game during the regular season.
The 76ers are expected to use Howard similarly in 2020/21, as he will take the floor when All-Star center Joel Embiid rests.