Dwight Howard is starting to prove that he could become a benefactor for the Lakers in his own way this season.

Following his return to Los Angeles, Howard appears to be on his way to changing the narrative around his game and character. After Howard left the floor during the team’s victory over the Hornets on Sunday, the crowd expressed their genuine appreciation on the center’s impressive performance.

Howard recorded 16 points and 10 rebounds to go, along with fout blocks in an efficient 22-minute playing time as the Lakers defeated the Hornets 120-101.

Lakers Head Coach Frank Vogel commended Howard’s contribution to the team’s win after the game. According to Vogel, the 8-time NBA All Star was “a star in his role” during the game. And thought Howard is quite far from the superstar he was back then, Vogel was pleased with how his veteran big man played his new role.

"He was off the charts. He was a star in his role tonight, and that's what we're asking him to be. Not the superstar he was the first time around, but to be a role player and to be a star in the role, and tonight he was," Vogel said about Howard after win against Hornets.

Speaking of Howard’s role, “D12” himself is starting to embrace his character as someone who can get the crowd going for the Lakers. For Howard, everything that has been happening in LA right now is “valuable” for him.

“I think myself and the fans have been through a lot together. But just to be back here, man, it means a lot. I just take it all in, every second, every moment on the court. It's valuable. Hopefully the fans enjoy when we go out there and put everything on the line,” Howard stated.

Dwight Howard Lakers
Reports indicate center Dwight Howard is "unlikely" to re-sign with the Los Angeles Lakers. Reuters

Prior to this, Howard already addressed the expectations of solid Lakers fans. The 33-year-old NBA veteran said that he understood the fans’ perspective of wanting him to try and put up huge numbers this season. However, he is more focused on delivering what his coaches want him to do to help the team win.

“If he (Vogel) wants me to score one night, then that’s what it’ll be. If he wants me to play defense, block shots, rebound, be physical in the paint, that’s what I have to do every single night,” Howard said.

During Lakers’ game against the Utah Jazz, Howard played a significant role to help the team seal their first win of the season. His activity on the offensive boards frustrated Utah’s big men and created second chances for the Lakers offense.