I answered your question, now you answer mine. Is having Dwight Howard seriously so much better than having a healthy Bynum as we did last year? You have to go with the fact that we didn't know Drew wouldn't be playing this year. If Drew was the same healthy dude as last year, would we have any worse a record this year as we do now if he was still here? Is Dwight as much as an upgrade as all have said, that being if Bynum was healthy this year. Be honest dude...
That's hard to answer, so let me break it into two parts.
1) If we kept Mike Brown, and had a healthy Drew, and brought in Nash...we'd likely be better than 7-7, BUT not better at the end of the season. That's assuming Nash still gets hurt. Kobe, Gasol, Bynum, Ron and Morris would still run through a similar offense we did last season, and we wouldn't spend time learning it.
2) If we ditched Brown, brought in D'Antoni, and had a healthy Drew and an injured Nash, then no, because D'Antoni isn't very fond of big men taking up space in the low post, and Bynum can't run the floor like Dwight can.
At the end of the season, the Kobe/Bynum/Gasol trio doesn't contend
. We lose just like we did for two years. Add Nash
, and we still don't beat the Thunder OR Spurs...may get to the WCF, but we can't beat two P&R-heavy contenders with Drew as our defensive anchor + Nash as our horrible defender at the point. It would be the same result.
At the end of this season, the Kobe/Howard/Gasol trio can contend
, because we have two extra things: a center that we can play through + get our shots through (as he has done for years in Orlando), and we have a big man that can come out on P&R's and lessen the negative effect of our lack of defense at the point (whether it was Fisher, Blake, Sessions, Morris, Nash, Goudelock, whoever).
Add Nash to that trio, and then D'Antoni, and you're taking four starters (minus Nash) that have to learn an offense they have never played in before, and when your other starter (Nash) is injured, and his replacement isn't a true uptempo facilitating PG, you don't have much to work with at this point.
But, once the offense is learned, if Nash is okay with running a bit less and letting both Kobe and Dwight play as superstars (and not as role players in a Phoenix system), we will contend. We have the best defensive big man, and one that can put teams in the penalty within 6-8 minutes sometimes...and a guy we can rely on as a primary option AND a shot-creator, when Kobe isn't shooting the ball well OR Nash is struggling getting past someone like Rondo.
Bynum is a traditional back-to-the-basket low post player, also, so with him camping down low, Kobe takes more jumpers. Bryant has played with two big men like that (Shaq and Drew), and it keeps him out of the paint a bit more. With Howard being able to step out and face his man up, taking them off the dribble, and Nash and Dwight operating P&R as easily the best duo in the NBA (if both were 100% right now, since both were the best P&R players at their positions), that's a free lane, and easy one-on-one match-ups, for Kobe. Gasol should be taking advantage of it as well, but he has trouble with aggression.