Will Dwight Howard solve the Lakers’ big problem?

Different look on offense for Lakers

Part of Cousins’ appeal to the Lakers — besides a bargain price of $3.5 million this season — was surely his ability to stretch the floor from the center position. During 2016-17 and 2017-18, Cousins made a combined 235 3-pointers at a 36% clip before making just 27% of his 3s last season while coming back from a ruptured Achilles tendon. Howard has made only six 3-pointers during his 15-year NBA career.

That spacing ability is important because Howard will be playing alongside Anthony Davis, perhaps the most traditional 4 Howard has teamed with since Pau Gasol in L.A. The Lakers will want to take advantage of Davis as a pick-and-roll threat and a post-up option against smaller power forwards, something Howard’s recent power forwards haven’t done. The Houston Rockets and Charlotte Hornets primarily played stretch-4s with Howard, and while Atlanta Hawks teammate Paul Millsap was effective in the paint, he also attempted a career-high 3.5 3-pointers per game alongside Howard. That’s slightly more than Davis, who topped out at 2.6 3s per game last season.

Presumably, the Lakers envision Howard spending a lot of time in what NBA coaches call the “dunker spot,” hanging out on along the baseline on the weak side of pick-and-rolls involving Davis and LeBron James or one of the Lakers’ guards. JaVale McGee figures to play the same role when he plays with Davis. McGee and Howard have been two of the league’s most prolific above-the-rim finishers: McGee was fifth in the NBA with 201 dunks last season for the Lakers, per Basketball-Reference.com, and Howard was fourth with 174 in 2017-18 while playing for the Hornets.