The L.A. Lakers made an unforeseen splash when they landed Steve Nash last week. NBA fans knew the Lakers needed to make some upgrades if they hoped to challenge for another NBA title, and this blockbuster move certainly situates the Lakers as likely contenders entering next year.
Nash's backcourt brilliance will give the Lake Show a whole new weapon and should take pressure off Kobe Bryant. What's more, imagine Nash slashing through the lane and dropping precise alley-oops to big men Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol.
It's undoubted that the Lakers offense is suddenly much more potent with the arrival of Nash.
The Lake Show's acquisition of Nash gives them a whole new outlook for next season and creates a handful of new priorities. Here's a rundown of the Lakers' top priorities after the Nash deal.
The presence of Steve Nash doesn't eliminate one of the Lakers' vital problems: their sub-par bench. Since Lamar Odom departed prior to last season, the Lakers have struggled to see consistency from their second unit.
This problem must be addressed if the Lakers want to capture the Larry O'Brien Trophy next June.
Now, it's not like the Lakers have the financial flexibility to bring in any marquee names, but the addition of a couple veteran role players is a wise idea. Many free agents have already been nabbed, but a few available possibilities include Grant Hill, Delonte West, the familiar Derek Fisher, Boris Diaw and Mickael Pietrus.
These seemingly small additions could actually end up having large impact throughout the season. No matter what, the Lakers need to bolster their bench in some fashion if they hope to compete with the NBA's best. This should certainly be a major priority as they approach the 2012-2013 season.
Bryant and Nash are two sure-fire Hall of Famers, so they will surely figure out how to mesh together.
But it will take a new philosophy, and they will have to learn how to share the ball. This is where coach Mike Brown must be busy this offseason contemplating the best strategy to utilize his two backcourt weapons.
Should we see more of Nash running the pick-and-roll with Bynum and Gasol, or should we witness more Kobe isolations?
These are the questions Brown must discern, and the Lakers' philosophy entering this upcoming season holds major weight towards the success they will find.
Pau Gasol trade rumors have been rampant for the past year, which has surely led to Gasol questioning how much the Lakers truly value him.
Further, Bryant has previously been critical of Gasol, and it's easy to wonder if the Laker big man will even be a member of their roster when training camp opens.
No matter what, the Lakers need to make a decisive decision regarding Gasol. If they desire to trade him, it's time to pull the trigger on this and not waver in indecision. The Lake Show might even need to realize that they're not going to receive a great deal in return for Gasol, as he's now 32 and has two pricey years remaining on his contract.
Or, if they choose to bring him back, they (including both management and his teammates) need to express their commitment to him.
Whatever the case, a priority this offseason should be to make a firm decision on Gasol's future and to end all the trade speculation that has chased him for the past year.
This may never happen, but it should be a major priority for Lakers management. If they could add Dwight Howard to a lineup that already features Kobe, Nash and Gasol, then the Lake Show would instantly become the most likely team to dethrone the Big Three in South Beach.
Therefore, the Lakers must either hope Bynum changes his stance or attempt to involve a third team.
While acquiring "Superman" may be a long shot, this shouldn't infer that this potential is no longer a priority. If they can find a way to make this deal happen, the Lakers will likely be on the verge of another dynasty.