It’s Out of the Question: Average, or below average, with Superman?

The Lakers’ Dwight Howard, left, tries to defend on a dunk by Charlotte’s Gerald Henderson in Friday’s game. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

We’re not going to question Dwight Howard’s intestinal fortitude, moral fiber or mental machismo.

We’ll even cut him some slack in case he’s been a bit on edge lately because this has been a long road trip, and Melissa McCarthy could be  stealing his identity.

If there’s any question right now about The Man Who Used to Call Himself Superman, it’s this: Why does he even bother playing?

The numbers say when he sits, the Lakers have a better chance at winning.

They’re simply floundering at a .444 clip (20-25, including Friday’s victory) when he’s made himself available. When he shows up in street clothes, the team is on easy street – they’ve got a .500 mark (3-3), even if all three of those wins have come on the Grammy trip.

Considering the Lakers have been above the .500 mark only once this year – 6-5, back on Nov. 20 – is this a piece of information that fans will be torn about?

Just look back at the Celtics again without that Rondo character …

== If Howard was ever questioned about his injury situation by Lakers owner Jerry Buss, would his response be: What are you, a doctor?

== Wouldn’t Milwaukee Bucks players have better access to deer antler spray?

== The official reason for the Superdome blackout on Super Bowl Sunday has nothing to do alcohol poisoning?

UCLA’s Shabazz Muhammad shoots over Washington forward Shawn Kemp Jr. in the first half of Thursday’s game at Pauley Pavilion. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)

== Remember when mean ol’ Ben Howland “suspended” Shabazz Muhammad for the start of one game this season because he arrived late for practice?
Why wouldn’t there be more punishment in store for the freshman counting down the hours to the NBA draft after the embarrassment he brought upon himself and his UCLA teammates when he sulked off the court Thursday, unhappy that senior Larry Drew II not only refused to pass him the ball for the potential game-winning shot at the end of regulation but then refused to join in the team celebration after Drew locked up the victory against Washington?

== The more you start a weeknight college basketball game at 6 p.m. in Westwood simply to accommodate TV, the more you’ll see empty seats in the lower bowl of Pauley’s Pavilion. No matter the opponent, the state of the UCLA program, or your opinions of Howland’s aftershave choice.
Make sense?

==  If Seattle’s Mariners can navigate through their way through a reported seven-year, $175 mil deal with King Felix, what happens when Clayton Kershaw’s ship comes in with the Dodgers?
And why wouldn’t the Dodgers do something now before it gets far more expensive later?

== Less than a year until the start of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.
So, where again is Sochi? Siberia-adjacent?

(AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, FIle)

== Couldn’t Ryan Braun’s latest excuse — that his testosterone-enforcement people were consulting with a “biochemist” who once ran a pyramid scheme and has his base of operations in a Pensacola, Fla., strip mall, and that’s why his name has popped up on some delinquent account statements – be fed through some kind of MLB-mandated lie-detector test before any investigation continues?
He can’t circumvent that by claiming Fed Ex didn’t handle his prepositions in an orderly fashion, could he?

==  Three numbers have been retired by UCLA’s hoops program this year – Reggie Miller’s 31, Jamaal Wilkes’ 52 and, on Thursday, it was Don Barksdale’s 11.
That’s in addition to Marques Johnson’s 54, Gail Goodrich’s 25, Bill Walton’s 32, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s 33 (it doesn’t say “Alcindor” on the jersey?), Sidney Wicks’ 35,  Ed O’Bannon’s 31 and Walt Hazzard’s 42.
Who’s missing? Isn’t it obvious?
Don MacLean’s 42.
When UCLA once set the criteria for retiring numbers, it had to do with someone being a first-team All-American and leading his team to a national title. Hazzard, Goodrich, Wicks, Abdul-Jabbar, Wilkes, Walton, Johnson and O’Bannon accomplished that.
Miller? His recent addition to the National Basketball Hall of Fame, based mostly on what he did in the NBA, somehow qualified him. Same with Barksdale.
So what if someday, the Hall wants to include Kevin Love, or Russell Westbrook, or even Jrue Holiday – all who left UCLA after one year. Can you then justify having their Bruins numbers retired?
What does MacLean, the all-time leading scorer in conference history, have to do – wave his hands and stomp his feet?

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