No one made more big moves in the offseason than the Los Angeles Lakers – they sent grumpy old man – Andrew Bynum to Philly and brought in Mr. AARP Steve Nash, Mr. Efficiency Antawn Jamison and Superman / Iron Man Dwight Howard. With these moves, are the Lakers the team to beat in the west?
Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, Dwight Howard, Steve Nash, Antawn Jamison and Ron Metta World Peace Artest, with a roster like this it seems the Lakers are back to their super team form of the Showtime era of the 80’s or the Kobe – Shaq era of the 2000’s. There are still lots of question to be answered with so many veteran talent packed into one team. But, if all goes well with chemistry – this just might be the best team in the west – talent wise.
I believe they are good enough to counter the youth and athleticism of the Oklahoma City Thunder and the experience of the forever present San Antonio Spurs in a one game series. In a best of seven, now that might be another issue. The Lakers improved tremendously with Howard in the middle and Jamison in the forward position, but the acquisition of Nash is kind of a blessing and a curse. He is still by far the best point guard in the league, as no other point guard can run an offense like Nash. He is a true floor general. He is also a big liability on defense and due to back issues in recent years the 39 year is unable to play heavy minutes.
In a seven game series against a team like the Oklahoma City Thunder, Russell Westbrook who runs the floor like Speedy Gonzales will leave Nash helpless on defense and with his (Westbrook) ever improving range on the floor, he would be able to have his way with whoever the Lakers throw at him.
So while the Lakers might be able to maybe contain Kevin Durant, Serge Ibaka and Kendrick Perkins to some extent with a combination of Metta World Peace, Pau Gasol, Dwight Howard and any other available big body they can find, they still have an issue with Westbrook.
And even if they find a way to fix the above issues, Kobe has got to play better down the stretch if the Lakers are to have a prayer of keeping it close against the runaway train called the OKC Thunder. During last season’s series, Thabo Sefolosha made Kobe look old on both sides of the court. Can a combination of Kobe and Jamison slow down this kid, that we have to wait and see.
Then you have the coaching issues. Mike Brown over the years has proven to be very bad at running any type of offense successful (and that’s me putting it lightly). All his years in Cleveland coaching arguably the best talent any of us has ever seen on a basketball court, his complete offensive game plan was; give the ball to LeBron James and the rest of you – fall in line.
For some reason, the Lakers organization figured he was the best man to replace a legend in Phil Jackson as the head coach. And once again he executed exactly the same game plan in LA as he did in Cleveland. Give the ball to Kobe and the rest of you – fall in line.
Now the organization has gone out and filled the roster with talent, or in other words; filled the roster with options. This coach has proven over his head coaching career his offensive scheme is – give the ball to the super star and everyone else stand around.
How is Mike Brown going to handle a team with multiple scoring options in Kobe, Pau, Nash and Howard?
The bottom-line, the Lakers are much improved talent wise, but they still have lots of weaknesses on the roster and in the head coaching position. They are going to need the stars to align for them to get pass OKC in the playoffs and if that happens, they will have a mountain to climb in LeBron James and the Miami Heats.