Harry How/Getty Images
Will Kobe defer to Nash to get the offense going?
When you acquire Steve Nash to be your team's starting point guard, it's under the assumption that he'll be in charge of the offense and everything will fall into place around him. In his last eight seasons in the NBA, Nash has averaged 10.9 assists per game.
With the Lakers, things won't be any different for Nash—he is what he is, an elite facilitator. He won't be asked to change his tendencies with his new team.
But Kobe, with an unselfish, playmaking point guard on his side, faces the task of slightly adjusting his game to fit Nash's strengths. Last year's combination of Ramon Sessions and Steve Nash were nothing more than stop-gap option at the position, but Nash, even at age 38, is an All-Star player who will control the flow of the offense and demand control of the ball.
As a result, Bryant will need to defer to Nash in certain situations and trust that the ball will come back to him if he's open within the flow of the offense.
The top point guards in today's NBA, for the most part, are a different breed than in years past. Players like Derrick Rose and Russell Westbrook are score-first point guards, who will set up their teammates if they're unable to find their own shot. Nash, however, is the exact opposite.
Nash is like an artist on the basketball court. Armed with several capable scorers around him, his creativity paints a beautiful picture within his team's offense, all while filling the box score. If his teammates are willing to buy in to Nash's tendencies, the Lakers could improve astronomically.
Kobe can still rely on his strengths as one of the best scorers in the league, but instead of relying on isolations and taking on the defense one-on-five, he must trust that Nash will find him open looks.
If the Lakers are going to win a Championship in 2012, it won't be up to Nash to alter his game. It will be up to Kobe.