A couple days after Dwight Howard said that he would have stayed with the Lakers if they hired Phil Jackson instead of retaining Mike D’Antoni, D’Antoni had a few choice words for Howard as well.
"There was just a lot of conflict, emotionally," D'Antoni said. "People were not settled in their roles. But it's funny because a lot of times players will say 'I don't know my role.' It's not that you don't know it, you just don't accept it."
According to D’Antoni, he wanted to go through Howard, but he was too injured to carry the load. "The only thing that cracks me up is (the question) 'Why didn't you go through him more?' " D'Antoni said. "Well, he was hurt. Why would we go through him if he's hurt? You have to (factor) that in. Why would we do that with Kobe and Nash and Gasol on the floor? That doesn't make a lot of sense."
In many ways D’Antoni has a point. Howard’s strength has never been on offensive end, but on the defensive end. And with Kobe, Nash, and Gasol on the floor, Howard should be the 3rd or 4th option on offense, since he can no longer command the double team on the offensive end like he once did, especially if hack-a-Howard is put into effect and he can’t hit his free throws.
Howard now has a lot to prove in Houston. He’s now fully healthy and his new coach, Kevin McHale, is planning on going inside-out on offense every time Howard is on the floor. At this point, the only way that Howard can silence his old coach, his old team, and his critics is by returning to the dominant force he once was.