The Peterson Principle

By Tim Peterson
July 11, 2013 • 459 views

The Lakers didn’t lose a superstar. They dodged a bullet. Actually I can’t take credit for that line. It was written by a local sportswriter but in the case of Dwight Howard he was absolutely right.

The Lakers didn’t win with him last year. Why would they suddenly win with him this year? Howard has never won a title and is coming off a back injury. He wasn’t the same last year and really is anybody really the same after a back injury? There’s no guarantee that he would have been completely healthy again.

Instead of mourning the loss of a star center the Lakers should be thanking him for saving them over one hundred million dollars. Howard doesn’t want to be the man. He never did and that won’t change. And then there are the surrounding parts. With a healthy Kobe Bryant, until late in the season, they finished seventh overall in the West. Why would be they be any better with a Bryant that is coming off an ACL injury.

Steve Nash is a year older and so is Pau Gasol. And with Howard in the lineup Gasol was never going to flourish anyway. Metta World Peace? Really? Even if he’s still on the roster he’s never been the type of player that can score consistently-especially at 33.

With Howard, the Lakers are stuck with him and his 100 million dollar salary for the next five years. Without him, they can have their pick of an abundance of free agents in 2014 including LeBron James. I’m not going to rip Howard for leaving $30 million on the table to sign with the Rockets. That’s his choice. But it does make you wonder why the Lakers would desperately pursue a player that never wanted to be here. Those banners and billboards proclaiming “Stay” on them with a picture of Howard must now be an incredible embarrassment to the organization.

Will the Rockets win an NBA championship now that Howard has signed on? For Dwight’s sake they better hope so. For $100 million, second place doesn’t cut it. Houston is going to need a little more than just Howard and James Harden to upend Miami or even San Antonio or Oklahoma City. Whether he likes it or not, the team and the entire city of Houston will be looking at him to be “the man”.

What about the Lakers? What do they do? Well after thanking Houston for taking Howard off of their hands, they bring Gasol back and give him a bigger role. They ease Bryant back, no need to rush him now, and count on a healthy Steve Blake to giving them a full year. As for World Peace, with the extra dough available, they might as well bring him back for defensive purposes. If nothing else he is entertaining. They might have to bite the bullet for one year until the 2014 crop but they will still be back in championship contention sooner than they would have been with Howard in the fold.

When guys like Jonathon Pabelbon, Bruce Bochy, and Mike Scioscia say that Yasiel Puig hasn’t paid his dues and shouldn’t be in the All-Star game, it just makes them sound like bitter old men.

If having a batting average of over .400 and having the second most hits in his first month of play second only to a guy named Joe DiMaggio isn’t worthy of All-Star status then I don’t know what is. I didn’t know the All-Star game was based on career stats. I thought it was based on what you did in that particular year.

Good news, bad news department: Good news: Two of the biggest local passing tournaments are still coming up this month at Santa Fe and Arroyo. Bad news: They are both scheduled for this Saturday July 13. Arroyo has 24 teams scheduled while Santa Fe tentatively has 25. Oh well I just might have to hit both. Gas prices be damned.

That’s my principle.

Tim can be reached at tim@midvalleysports.com

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