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Dwight Howard.

Dwight Howard explains why he struggled so much during his year with the Lakers

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One of the biggest surprises to take place on the night of the 2017 NBA Draft was the Atlanta Hawks trading star center Dwight Howard to the Charlotte Hornets.

Now, Howard will prepare to suit up for his fifth NBA team, eager to prove that he can still be a valuable piece of a winning squad.

First, though, he addressed his ill-fated season with the Lakers and why he didn't work out in Los Angeles.

While Howard was answering questions on Twitter recently, a fan asked him why he struggled so much during his one year with the Los Angeles Lakers:

Howard responded with a succinct one-word tweet, blaming injuries for his lackluster play with the Lakers in 2012-13:

Though Howard appeared in 76 games for the Lakers that season, he had back surgery during the previous offseason and wasn't at full strength for the start of the year. He also dealt with shoulder issues throughout the season, limiting his effectiveness.

Atlanta Hawks v Boston Celtics

Howard didn't produce like he did with the Orlando Magic during his year with the Lakers, but he was still one of the best centers in the game, averaging 17.1 points, 12.4 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per contest.

However, those weren't the numbers fans were expecting from him, and combining his subpar performance with his feud with LA star Kobe Bryant led to him getting run out of town after the Lakers were swept by the San Antonio Spurs in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs.

Though Bryant and Howard often chirped at each other on the court, Howard said during the Twitter session that he believes the media made more of the feud than they should have:

The Hornets are confident they can help Howard turn his career around, as coach Steve Clifford said after the trade he thinks Howard can be an All-Star once again (via ESPN.com):

"I know what he has to do to play well," Clifford said. "He understands that I know him. I know his game. Being around him in different settings I have a feel for what he likes to do. ... There is no reason he can't get back to playing at a really high level."

Howard, a three-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year award winner, will be counted on to help the Hornets toughen up on the interior, as the team was lacking strength on the boards last year.

In 2016-17, the Hornets finished 36-46 and ended up missing the playoffs. With Howard on board this year, Charlotte should challenge for an Eastern Conference playoff spot.

Topics:
NBA Playoffs
Dwight Howard
Houston Rockets
Southwest Division
Western Conference
NBA
LA Lakers
Pacific Division
Kobe Bryant
Charlotte Hornets
Southeast Division
Eastern Conference

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