After winning two straight titles, the Lakers took a nose dive. No it’s not like they were a terrible team, but they just had a problem getting out of the second round of the playoffs. Heading into the off-season after losing to OKC, it wasn’t clear if the Lakers were going to do a fire sale or start planning for life after Kobe Bryant, because everyone knows that day is coming soon when he retires from the game. Instead the Lakers made steals in the off season. They were able to convince the Phoenix Suns to send Victoria’s own Steve Nash to LA via sign and trade, and then they were able to lure Dwight Howard to the west coast through trade. In the end, the significant loss the Lakers lost were Andrew Bynum, the second best centre in the NBA today.
The Lakers offseason was simply historic. You could even compare it to the off season when they landed Karl Malone and Gary Payton. Although both players weren’t good fits for the team, they were still huge moves. Nash will fit perfectly with what the Lakers want, and Howard would be a huge upgrade over Andrew Bynum. The Hype machine will be in full swing each game when the Lakers take the court this season. Mark my words, after adding Dwight Howard and Steve Nash, while keeping Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol, the Lakers are and will be the team to beat in the West. Anything less than a championship will be a disappointment for this team, which on paper looks more stacked then a stack of pancakes. Expectations are high, and the pressure is on.
Certainly now, Kobe Bryant will have a much lighter load with Steve Nash now on the team. Cue the highlight reels this year for Kobe and Nash. Has Metta World Peace ever been the second best defender on his own roster? While he has won a defensive player of the year award, now Howard is on the team, this team will be quite unstoppable on defence and offence. It will definitely be interesting how World Peace adapts to Howard being the top defender on the team, and Bryant adapts to a player like Nash who averaged 10.7 assists a game last season.
While this team may look absolutely amazing, this team does have a huge weakness. They aren’t young. Kobe Bryant is 34 years old, and is nearing the end of his career, Nash is 38, Jamison is 36 and Metta World Peace is 34, and Gasol is 32. Now if all these players were in their primes, the Lakers would be truly a dominant force in the West. They should still have an excellent season, but should still monitor minutes to prevent injuries to their older players, and so the squad will be fresh come playoff time. The team is not built for long term, and the window for this team is now, which is why there’s a lot of pressure on the team to win now before it’s all over.
Picture credit: Lakers.com