Over his last few NBA stops, Lakers center Dwight Howard earned a reputation for rubbing teammates the wrong way, in part because of his “poorly-timed playfulness” that led some people in league circles to believe he lacked professionalism, writes Sam Amick of The Athletic. Since arriving in Los Angeles this summer though, Howard has been all business, with noticeable changes to his “dedication and demeanor.” As the veteran center tells Amick, that new approach has been deliberate.
“I’m the same person. I love to have fun, love to enjoy life. I just separate it,” Howard said. “There’s a time and a place for everything. I’m here for business. When I go home, that’s when I can be who I want to be. But right now, when I put on that jersey and when I come in this locker room, it’s about the Lakers. And that’s it.”
Howard, who made a strong early impression by studying game film with head coach Frank Vogel on the Lakers’ flight back from China last month, is also off to a strong start on the court. He has averaged 6.7 PPG, 7.9 RPG, and 2.1 BPG in a part-time role through seven games, with a league-high .786 FG%.
Here’s more on Los Angeles’ two teams:
- After being held to 19 and 16 minutes in his first two games this season, Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma had a more lenient minutes limit on Tuesday against the Bulls, writes Eric Woodyard of ESPN.com. Although Kuzma only ended up playing 21 minutes, Vogel is prepared to increase that figure going forward. “To me, it’s not so much what his limitations are,” Vogel said before Tuesday’s game. “It’s really about rhythm and timing and conditioning, for me, in terms of what his minutes end up being. But he’s allowed to play 26 now.”
- Paul George is scheduled to go through his first full-contact practice as a member of the Clippers on Saturday, per Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN.com. A Wednesday report indicated that the team is hoping to have George make his season debut next week, either on November 13 in Houston or November 14 in New Orleans.
- Jovan Buha and Sam Amick of The Athletic take a deep dive into the Clippers‘ load managing of Kawhi Leonard, exploring whether his nights off are precautionary or if he’s actually dealing with an injury. Sources tell The Athletic duo that there’s no definitive plan to have Leonard miss half of every single back-to-back set this season. The star forward’s rest schedule will be determined a few weeks at a time, and could be adjusted as the year goes on.