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"Dwight Howard is basically Kosta Koufos" was the message I got from one NBA insider midway through the Lakers' loss Wednesday night in Denver, referring to the Nuggets' largely anonymous center.
Not long after, someone else who works in league personnel offered: "If you dropped in from another planet and had no idea who the players were, you would never know that Dwight Howard was one of the best players.
This is what Howard is allowing to happen: As more substandard games go by without noticeable rust dropping off, the image repair that was supposed to happen this season is twisting into reputation tarnishing.
If Howard is banking on disproving all that was said about him during his Orlando exit debacle by showing he is a winner as a Laker, he'd better be saving something super special for late in the season.
Howard's decisions to ramp up slowly and carefully this season, leaning on excuses from back surgery eight months ago and failing to get his conditioning back in gear, have brought him to this point – where those who really know the NBA know that he is not being great.