Which Los Angeles Lakers Star Will Most Benefit from Acquisition of Steve Nash?

Jesse DorseyFeatured ColumnistJuly 5, 2012

Which Los Angeles Lakers Star Will Most Benefit from Acquisition of Steve Nash?

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    Steve Nash will be putting on the gold and purple this season, which means quite a few things for the Los Angeles Lakers and the former Suns star.

    It's hard to imagine that a basketball player will be playing well into his 40s as it seems Nash will be, but for a guy who has averaged 11 assists a game ever since he came to the dry heat in Phoenix, he should be able to do just fine for himself with three top-tier players as his passing targets.

    Kobe Bryant is going to have to change his game for Nash, and there's no telling if he'll be willing to do that, but the other two star players that the Lakers employ should be loving their new point guard.

    Most of all, Mike Brown should love the fact that Nash knows how to run an offense more or less with no coaching, pushing or prodding—which could mean he keeps his job longer than anyone thought.

    Of course, for Lakers fans, anything less than a title or two over the life of Nash's contract is going to be a disappointment, but that's definitely not out of the realm of possibility.

    So, let's see how the other Lakers players should be faring once Nash starts dropping dimes all over the Staples Center.

Kobe Bryant

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    There are roughly one bajillion questions surrounding the jelling of Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash.

    Obviously, you don't get the biggest value out of Nash unless he is running the show in LA. However, the Lakers have a dude who has run the show for nearly a decade at this point.

    Kobe Bryant will still be the biggest part of the Lakers offense, but he's going to have to realize that he isn't going to have to create everything for himself.

    Should Kobe relegate himself to becoming more of an off-ball player, then this is going to be an amazing relationship and he should see his shooting percentages skyrocket.

    The last time Nash played with a shooting guard anywhere near as capable as Kobe Bryant, Joe Johnson was in his last year of his deal with the Suns back in 2005. Johnson relegated himself to becoming a catch-and-shoot player primarily (57 percent of his shots came off assists), and shot a ridiculous 48 percent from three.

    Nobody's looking for Kobe to become the off-ball guy that Johnson was in that season, but if he were to do half that much, then he should find himself with more open shots than he's had since playing with Shaq.

Andrew Bynum

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    Between 2005 and 2009, the Phoenix Suns had a guy in the top five in field-goal percentage four times. Amar'e Stoudemire was second in 2005, fifth in 2007 and 2008, and Shaq was first in 2009 (with Stoudemire coming in at ninth that season).

    Here's the facts: Nash is amazing at getting the ball to a big man in the block, leading him away from his defender and getting him the best lane to the basket. However, that's with an old, fat dude like Shaq.

    With Stoudemire, Nash was able to hit him on the run—and trying to stop a seven-footer streaking to the rim is like trying to stop a train with a tissue.

    Bynum is a bit of a hybrid of the two. He's not quite as strong as Shaq, but he's strong, and he's not quite as athletic or as good with a jumper as Stoudemire, but he's got some athleticism and he can hit a jumper.

Pau Gasol

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    Steve Nash was born to set up Pau Gasol—he's the man Gasol always should have played with.

    Amar'e Stoudemire was great because of his athleticism, but he was never quite the player in the post that Gasol is. Shaq was great because he could still overpower everyone on the floor, but he couldn't hit a jumper.

    Playing with a guy like Gasol—who is still one of the most skilled low-post scorers in the NBA, despite the hate that has been piled on him over the past year or so—will give Nash the ability to spread the floor out so the defense can't imagine keeping everyone in check, and set up Gasol as the queen to Nash's king—demolishing pawns, bowling over rooks, slipping around bishops and going in on a checkmate before anyone knows it.

    There's no doubt that Gasol will be the most improved with Nash on the floor, and that alone should keep the Lakers from trading him.

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