The Lakers acquired Dwight Howard from the Orlando Magic in the off-season in hopes of bolstering their chances to win the NBA title. With the season just a week away, join Times Lakers writer Mike Bresnahan and the Orlando Sentinel's Brian Schmitz at 11:30 a.m. today for a Google+ Hangout about Howard.
As Bresnahan wrote in the days leading up the Howard's exhibition debut on Sunday,
"The Lakers could use Howard, tears and everything. They're the only team without an exhibition victory. Their 0-5 mark is their worst start ever.
"The starters have played sparingly, sure, but only Bryant looks to be in midseason form, averaging 20.3 points, 4.3 rebounds and 3.5 points in 25.3 minutes.
"Can we play better? Yeah," Lakers Coach Mike Brown said. "Is there some concern? Not yet. After the preseason, talk to me if we had a chance to play all our guys."
Howard was relieved to finally come close to playing. He gets asked how he feels a trillion times a day by reporters, trainers, friends, family members and, of course, the general public.
"I get it on Twitter all day every day: 'When are you going to play?'" Howard said. "Then you've got the people that are upset that I'm already back from injury: 'Hey, was he really injured?' I don't think people understand how serious that injury is. Some people never recover. Some people never get back as quick as I have.
"People want to see the new-look Lakers. I understand it. My job isn't to come here and play in the preseason. I came here to help this team win, and we want to win in June."
"Howard's back is no longer an issue. The greater unknown will be his conditioning. He steadily increased his workload at Lakers practices and was cleared a little more than a week ago for five-on-five scrimmages."
Join our experts at 11:30 to find out their thoughts. If you have a question for Bresnahan or Schmitz, email your question to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will try to answer it during the show.