|Nash has some thoughts on Howard's effort. (Getty Images)|
When Steve Nash has issues with your play, things have gone south. The Orange County Register has another in a series of compelling stories on the inside of the Lakers' locker room, and how more and more it appears that Dwight Howard is a focus of the discord, from every angle.
Nash, who is always known as the best teammate a guy could ask for and a terrific leader, didn't call out Howard. He didn't say anything negative about him at all. But the tone of the piece indicates frustration. What Nash says of note:
"We'd like to get him in the pick and roll more," Nash said Sunday. "I think that's how he was really good in Orlando. He'd pick and he'd dive and they'd swing and put it in to him, so he could get deeper catches and the help side has a more difficult time coming to him.
"I don't know. It's been difficult really to get him into that game -- running into pick and rolls, diving hard, looking for the ball. We really haven't found that rhythm from him yet."
The primary issue here is about Howard embracing the pick and roll. He's openly said he doesn't want to be involved in that set, the most effective he's ever been in. He is, by any measure, better in the pick and roll than the post. Ding asserts that the concern is Howard's revulsion towards Shaquille O'Neal's criticism of him, the idea that Howard can't produce in the post. But the issues go beyond offensive sets.
There's an implied question of effort throughout the piece, and it's not the first time it's been broached. From Kobe Bryant's questions about his injury to continued rumblings in the pieces of the L.A. media, there's a pattern forming.
Is it effort, or is it injury? Is Howard not able to perform because of his body, or has he just not bought in? That's what everyone's wondering -- coaches, players, media, fans.
But one thing's certain. When Steve Nash isn't throwing himself in front of the bus for you, you've entered some deep grass.