Lakers would not have got to NBA Finals without Dwight Howard, says Doc Rivers

Dwight Howard
Photo: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Dwight Howard had a resurrection year last season with the Los Angeles Lakers. The veteran center found a role on the team where he was useful and eventually helped the Lakers win their 17th title which was Howard’s first.

His current coach at the Philadelphia 76ers, Doc Rivers stressed the importance of the former number one draft pick during the playoff series against the Denver Nuggets. According to Rivers, without Howard, the Lakers would not have gone through the Nuggets and got to the Finals.

Via Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer:

“Then, last year was a resurrection for Dwight Howard,” Rivers said of Howard playing for the Lakers. Like, he couldn’t get signed. And then he goes to the Lakers and wins a ring. And that Denver series [in the Western Conference finals], they don’t get to the [NBA] Finals without Dwight Howard.

“That’s changed Dwight, too.”

Last season Howard averaged 7.5 points and 7.3 rebounds in 18.9 minutes per game for the Lakers. He averaged 8.2 points, 5.2 rebounds in 20.2 minutes per game in the Denver series, playing a big part in limiting Nikola Jokic.