KEY POINTS

  • Howard continues to shine with the Lakers
  • Howard's future could include a contract with other teams
  • Howard's playing minutes have played a key part on him avoiding injuries

At 34, there is no question that Dwight Howard is reaching the penultimate stage of his NBA career. After experiencing a spiral in his pro basketball career, the 6-foot-11 center got a new lease on life in his second return to the Los Angeles Lakers franchise. Looking ahead, what does the future hold for the three-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year.

Howard has rebuffed critics with his new-found form in Hollywood. Though he is not the top dog for the Lakers, it remains that he was able to reinvent himself and accept his new role without much qualms. A look at Basketball-Reference.com shows the eight-time NBA All-Star averaging 7.7 points, 7.5 rebounds and 1.4 blocks in 41 games. He is playing just under 20 minutes per contest, figures that pale heavily if his career-numbers are to be compared.

Regardless, there are some important points to consider in his return to Los Angeles. One is that he was able to make amends and win back the hearts of Laker fans. Second, his 2019-20 NBA performance could be his ticket to better things. Agreeing to a measly $2.6 million deal for a year, Howard may find himself pursued by other teams this summer. That is unless the Lakers have intentions of rewarding him with a better deal in the offseason.

Either way, Howard's rise from the ashes somehow places his NBA career back on the right trajectory. GQ.com believes that it would be impossible for the 2008 NBA Slam Dunk Contest winner to get back to where he once was but Howard does not seem to mind. A rejuvenated career is already rewarding for him, possibly a sign that he will remain in the league for a couple of years more.

Showing what he can do via limited minutes begs to ask if he can put up better numbers with more time on the floor. He could jack up the averages but the injuries he has had to deal with stand in the way. Playing only about 20 minutes seems to be keeping him away from sickbay, potentially the scenario he would have moving forward.

If the Lakers win it all, Howard could be back but as a backup to Anthony Davis. Testing the market could reward him of more playing time and a starting position on other NBA teams. Howard will have decisions to make this summer, hopefully a wiser one compared to the previous years.

Dwight Howard Dwight Howard of the LA Lakers dunks during an NBA game against Charlotte Hornets. Photo: LA Times