SALT LAKE CITY — As he huffs up and down the court, Dwight Howard reminds himself he has plenty of ways to go before morphing into the most dominant version of himself. As he shuts down the lane and throws down thunderous dunks, Howard realizes he’s stepping closer.
As it is with the Lakers’ development four games into the season, Howard describes his own development as a “process.” Given that Howard’ss only six months removed from back surgery to repair a herniated disk, Lakers Coach Mike Brown sees plenty of signs that suggest he’s exceeded expectations in returning to the court.
“You can call him Superman. But he’s SuperHuman,” Brown said before the Lakers-Jazz game at Energy Solutions Arena. “He heals faster than almost anybody I know. I saw video when he first got injured and he couldn’t do a calf raise. Shortly after that, he was doing calf raises. Just the determination alone is something that has gotten to this point. The sky is the limit as far as where he can plateau offensively and defensively.”
Howard hasn’t quite reached that sky yet, even if he stands in his 6’11, 265-pound frame.
Through four games, Howard has averaged 23.3 points per contest on 68.8 percent shooting, 9.8 rebounds and 2.5 blocks. But Howard has also averaged 3.5 turnovers and 4.3 fouls per game while fighting through conditioning, timing, double teams, a new offense and new teammates.
“It’s coming along great,” Howard said. “I’m thankful for it in not being able to do a calf raise to dunking again in a couple of months is a blessing. I’ll continue to work hard and get stronger and better every day and work on my timing. All of that stuff will come. I just have to be patient with it and understand it’s a process and not let it affect me as a person.”
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