The Lakers pulled out of their slump with a dominating 102-84 win over the Utah Jazz. The win came after a controversial team meeting and some confrontational talk to each other on the court. According to their star player and leader Kobe Bryant, that’s what they need and that’s the nature of the team. But what about Dwight Howard? Read more after the jump.
He mentioned how Metta World Peace jumped all over Darius Morris at one point of the game, and how even Steve Nash came right back at Bryant when he confronted him about not taking a particular shot. No nonsense. No pulled punches. No secrets.
“That’s just how it should be,” he had told reporters afterward. “Yeah, shoot the (expletive). What the (expletive) you doing? You know?…This is what it is, and this is how it should be and this is how it will be.”
But five days after the team meeting that seemed to embody this candid and caustic style that Bryant has employed for so long, it was impossible not to notice the omission of Dwight Howard from the conversation.
The Lakers center doesn’t fit into this part of the Lakers picture, his personality more passive-aggressive than direct and the question remaining about whether the free-agent-to-be is prepared to play this game with Bryant beyond this season.
“It’s a matter of learning (for Howard),” Bryant told USA TODAY Sports as he exited Staples Center. “What I try to tell him is that it’s not necessarily about what you (want), how you are as a person, or what’s comfortable for you. It’s really about what’s going to help elevate us.
“So for us to have a team that’s confrontational and on edge brings out the competitive spirit of everybody else, you know what I’m saying? If everybody is just relaxed and happy go lucky and this that and the other, then that’s the personality we’ll have as a team. And then you run into a team that’s a confrontational team, and it’s like a bus.”
Howard’s nature is “relaxed and happy go lucky” not the confrontational person Bryant feels they need. Whether or not he can adapt to that is yet to be seen.
“I don’ t know what the future holds,” Bryant said. “I don’t know if (Howard will be traded)…But I know that as long as he’s here, I’m going to continue to help him, mentor him, help him be great. That’s all I can do. I’m a problem solver. I try to figure things out, come hell or high water.”