Perhaps you heard a little bit about the Los Angeles Lakers this offseason. After getting shoved aside by the younger, more talented Oklahoma City Thunder in last year’s playoffs the Lakers knew they had to make a big move or two to compete for another title or two in Kobe Bryant’s remaining few years.
So all GM Mitch Kupchak did was add two future Hall of Famers in point guard Steve Nash and center Dwight Howard, giving up essentially only Andrew Bynum.
The starting five is stacked, with two MVPs (Nash and Kobe), a three-time Defensive Player of the Year (Howard) another Defensive Player of the Year (Metta World Peace) and a four-time All-Star (Pau Gasol). The Lakers also added to the bench, adding 15-year veteran Antawn Jamison and underrated shooter Jodie Meeks (37.1 percent on 3-pointers).
Nash is one of the best point guards in the game, but to do what he does best, he’ll need the ball to open possessions. With Howard and Pau Gasol on the floor at the same time, there should be a number of successful offensive possessions where Bryant doesn’t even see the basketball. Obviously, this will be a major adjustment.
Will Bryant choose to adapt to the new offense — one that, much like the Triangle, features motion and multiple options at every turn — or will he resist and revert to old habits of forcing isolation situations with the shot clock winding down, while his teammates stand around and watch?
The Lakers have a lot of experience and recognizable names among the reserves, but little in the way of dependable. Adding Jamison was key. Now L.A. needs Jordan Hill to repeat his late-season showing of 2011-12 and consistent play from Steve Blake or Chris Duhon in the backcourt.
Nash is a 39-year-old with a history of back problems who is leaving the best medical staff in the NBA. Kobe is an incredibly old 34; he’s already played in more games than Michael Jordan ever did. Howard is coming off back surgery. That’s a whole lot of things that could go wrong over an 82-game season. As much talent as L.A. has, it will be a tall order to overcome the chemistry and experience that the Heat and Thunder bring into this season.
Vegassportsbetting odds to win West: +125 (favorite)