I think when you look it the biggest reason I believe this team will win the championship this season is because of Steve Nash. This guy is gonna make life so much easier for everyone around him especially Kobe Bryant. Remember how frustrated we were last year when nobody could take the ball out of Kobe's hands consistently and make plays? That's not gonna happen anymore. Now Kobe can play his natural position and play off the ball. Kobe even said he's like a receiver now. Nash is our quarterback. Kobe will get so many easy baskets especially out on the break. In the half court teams will have a tough decision. If you double Kobe you leave Nash wide open and if you do that he'll make you pay.
Nash has made a living of making average role players look like above average players. In Phoenix he made several guys into All Star caliber players and once they left Phoenix they were never the same again. If Nash can make guys like Amare and Marion look like stars can you imagine what he'll do with Kobe? Kobe has NEVER played with a great point guard like Nash. His entire career he basically had to be the main playmaker. The last couple of years he's had alot of responsibility which quite honestly wore him down. Won't happen anymore. Nash will be the play maker, he'll set Kobe up who can now just focus on doing what God put him on this Earth to do. Score the basketball. Expect his efficiency to increase heavily. A big problem against OKC was Russell Westbrook didn't have to play any defense. Now he'll have too.
World Peace is gonna play a big role in this offense. He's gonna be that floor spacer that we need. He has to hit shots and I think we will. I say his media day photo and he looks great. He struggled at the beginning of last season, but once he got in basketball shape he was terrific. Averaged 13 points in April and shot a decent percentage too. I fully expect that to happen again because he's in good shape and he'll be getting aton of open looks. Teams will dare him to shoot he's just gotta make him pay.
Now let's talk about Dwight Howard. I gotta admit I was wrong about this young man. I thought he didn't wanna be a Laker, but clearly that isn't the case. Mr. Howard I apologize. He has made it very clear he loves the beautiful city of Los Angeles and being a member of the greatest franchise in sports. He's not going anywhere. Dwight has obviously been very dominant on both sides of the basketball his entire career, but I believe his biggest impact will definitely be on the defensive end.
While Bynum was a very good defender and at times great he was nowhere near as mobile, athletic, or consistent as Dwight is and has been. Obviously Nash isn't a very good defender and going up against all the fast and athlete point guards he'll face you would expect he can't stay in front of them. If/ when that happens no big deal Dwight will be right there to back him up and protect the paint. One of the things that killed us a against Oklahoma City was our pick and roll defense. Russell Westbrook just destroyed us. Bynum wasn't mobile enough to challenge Westbrook's shots and then get back and protect the pain. Howard is. Westbrook and other guards may still score, but it'll be much harder against Dwight.
Offensively we know what he can do. Sure he may not be a great and super skilled offensive player like Kareem, Wilt, or Shaq was, but he's so damn athlete it doesn't matter. He'll be getting several lobs from Nash and how will teams stop it? Good luck to them on that. Although he may not have a great postgame he is much better than he was when he faced us in the 2009 Finals. He's developed a nice running hook shot and he even has a nice little jumper. He'll be getting so many garbage points off put backs. He should shoot well over 60 percent.
Now let's discuss the bench. Last year we were deadlast in points off the bench along with the lowly Bobcats. Now you insert a terrific scorer like Antawn Jamison. Even at age 36 he was still a near 20 point scorer. Granted he had a poor efficiency, but he was forced to be a go to option and at this stage of his career he's simply not that. Now he'll get the chance to play with multiple superstar who will no doubt get him several open looks. Then you add in Jodie Meeks who can also spread the floor which is something we desperately needed and also re-signing Jordan Hill and the Lakers will have a much better bench this season. Is it great? Maybe not, but when you have such an incredibly talented starting five you don't need a great bench.
I think when you look at the two teams that could potentially beat us. Miami and Oklahoma City. Let's look at Miami.
The defending champions who have improved their roster from last season, but they still have no size at all. Who is suppose to guard Howard? No one on their roster can. Which means they have to finble which will lead to many open looks. Kobe and Wade is a wash, as is Pau and Bosh while Nash and LeBron both have major advantages. Miami has always struggled with good point guards and we have one of the best. Their bench is better than ours, but our starting lineup is far better IMO. I'm not saying we'd beat them decisively like in a sweep, but I do think we'd win. We're a horrible matchup for them.
Let's look at the Thunder. Now obviously they have Kendrick Perkins who has guarded Dwight well in the past so they won't double team. That could be a problem, but I firmly believe Dwight if healthy is simply too athletic for Perkins to handle and he's a much better offensive player than he was when the two last met in the postseason. World Peace now is in much better shape and he'll obviously guard Durant. Will he stop him? Of course not, but I do believe he can do a better job than anyone else in the league.
Westbrook will still have his way with Nash, but at least now he has to play defense. If and when he gets past Nash he has to meet up with Dwight at the rim. He's not gonna have a hard time finishing over Howard. We don't really have an answer for Harden, but surprisingly he wasn't much of a factor against us last season. All in all having a guy like Dwight who can protect the much better if/when Durant and Westbrook get past their man attack the rim, having a much improved bench, having Nash who will make Westbrook play defense, and last but not least you still have Kobe Bryant.
I think if we can just stay healthy we'll win the championship.
Edited by Texas Lakers Fan, October 04, 2012 - 12:11 AM.