Jeanie Buss Blames Former Coach Mike D’Antoni for Dwight Howard’s Exit From the Lakers During His First Stint

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At times, talented players are not the only thing a team requires. A lot more thought goes out into bringing new players into an established team. The perfect example of this is Dwight Howard being acquired by the Lakers in the 2011-12 season. His chemistry with the team just didn’t fit and the Lakers’ president blames their then head coach, Mike D’Antoni.

Even when Dwight was just in high school, he became a prospect that nobody could miss out on. He was so highly skilled that he didn’t even need to go to college and directly made it to the 2004 NBA Draft. Orlando Magic grabbed Howard when they had the chance, and since then he has been making a significant impact. So much so, that he ended up carrying Magic to the NBA Finals and ended up with the Defensive Player of The Year Award.

However, it was only a matter of time before Howard wanted more growth. He was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers, but then the downfall began. By the looks of it, a Kobe Bryant, and Dwight Howard combination should have been deadly. But we all know that’s not what transpired.

Los Angeles Lakers center Dwight Howard defends Denver Nuggets' Nikola Jokic
Sep 26, 2020; Lake Buena Vista, Florida, USA; Los Angeles Lakers center Dwight Howard (39) defends Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic (15) during the first half in game five of the Western Conference Finals of the 2020 NBA Playoffs at AdventHealth Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Jeanie Buss thinks its the former Lakers coach’s fault

Howard was struggling majorly on the court. He had a back injury, and keeping up with Mike D’Antoni’s coaching was another barrier. The biggest issue was his trouble clicking with Kobe Bryant. Chemistry with Kobe was vital in being a part of the Lakers and that was missing drastically.

With all of this, Dwight joined the Houston Rockets from free agency despite being offered a max contract. Lakers president Jeanie Buss justified why Howard left them.“I understand why he left. We hired a coach [Mike D’Antoni] who didn’t respect his game and wasn’t going to put him in a position to succeed.”

It’s hard to pinpoint and make one person the focal point of the issue. Nevertheless, Dwight finally made his way back to the Lakers this season. The big man finally seems to be more comfortable with the franchise and has showcased major contributions on both ends of the court. With the Lakers in the NBA Finals, Dwight must be doing something right.

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