By Jack Houston
After an offseason of speculation, Dwight Howard has finally left behind the Orlando Magic for the sunshine and blue skies of … Las Vegas?
Not quite. Although Howard’s new-look Los Angeles Lakers take on the Sacramento Kings in a preseason contest at Thomas & Mack Center on Oct. 19, the six-time NBA All-Star is unlikely to play while he continues to recover from season-ending back surgery. Fortunately for Lakers fans, the team still has plenty of firepower in the form of future Hall of Famer Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol, as well as point guard Steve Nash, who was acquired over the summer from the Phoenix Suns.
After a disappointing second-round exit in last year’s playoffs, the Lakers look to get back on track against the Kings, who will get a look at their top draft pick, Thomas Robinson of Kansas, who led the nation in double-doubles last year and became the first Jayhawk in 50 years to score at least 30 points and total 20 rebounds in a single game.
The combination of Robinson and third-year center DeMarcus Cousins gives the Kings one of the top frontcourts in the Western Conference, and with Howard out, the size advantage hopes to play in their favor in this tune-up for the regular season.