Dwight Howard to start Friday vs. Clippers

Dwight Howard
Photo by Zhong Zhi/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Lakers have had a multitude of problems this season, but one of the tougher pills to swallow has been the starting lineup. For one, injuries have caused Frank Vogel to use a multitude of lineups without any consistency night-to-night. Second, the starters really have not been able to produce on the offensive end, with that mostly being attributed to the poor spacing caused by center DeAndre Jordan. The clogged-up paint causes there to be no driving lanes for LeBron James, Russell Westbrook, and Anthony Davis, stopping them from doing what they do best. Lakers fans have been clamoring for a change at the starting five position, and they’re finally getting it as Frank Vogel revealed on Thursday that Dwight Howard will be starting tomorrow against the Los Angeles Clippers (h/t Harrison Faigen of Silver Screen & Roll).

When looking back on the events that unfolded in Tuesday’s game against the Sacramento Kings, this isn’t too surprising. In the game, Jordan was benched at the 7:38 mark of the first quarter for Dwight Howard, never to see the floor again in the game. The move surprised Howard, who said that he was told before the game that he was not going to play at all. That was far from the case, as Jordan’s benching caused Howard to play 35 minutes in the contest. Howard stepped up in a big way too, posting a +27 box plus/minus with 12 points and 13 rebounds, with five of those rebounds coming on the offensive end.

As Harrison Faigen notes below, it’s pretty telling that Frank Vogel — one of the most staunch protectors of starting lineups you’ll find in the NBA — decided to just say “F*** it” and reveal the lineup change more than 24 hours out from tip-off. It may emphasize just how done Vogel is with Jordan, although he does leave the door open for him to play again in the future.

However, when looking at the below video of Vogel and Jordan passionately talking when Howard was subbed in for him, you’d be smart to expect that we’re going to largely see Howard in the non-Anthony Davis center minutes moving forward, if not exclusively.

With that being said, shout out to Dwight Howard! This will only be his third regular season start for the Lakers since his 2012-13 season with the team. He definitely deserves it, and hopefully he can bring more to the lineup than what Jordan brought.

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