Los Angeles Lakers: Breaking Down the Lakers' Starting Lineup for Next Season

Bryant Knox@@BryantKnoxFeatured ColumnistJuly 16, 2012

Los Angeles Lakers: Breaking Down the Lakers' Starting Lineup for Next Season

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    The Los Angeles Lakers have made arguably the biggest move of the summer in trading for Steve Nash, and as a result, they have seriously upgraded their 2012-13 starting lineup.

    If the roster stays as it is heading into the new season, their projected starting five has the potential to be one of the best in the NBA.

Andrew Bynum, C

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    Andrew Bynum is coming off the best season of his NBA career, having averaged 18.7 points, 11.8 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per game last year. 

    While rumors (via ESPN's Alex Kennedy) continue to fly regarding his status in Los Angeles, Dave McMenamin of ESPN reported earlier this month that the Lakers intend to keep him and Pau Gasol around to play with Steve Nash next year.

    The 7'0", 280-pound big man has improved his low-post game drastically over the past few seasons, but having a facilitator like Nash to get him the ball could add a pick-and-roll game to his arsenal as well.

    If Bynum can continue to add to his offense while maintaining his defensive presence down low, he's going to make a legitimate push to surpass Dwight Howard as the best center in the entire NBA.

Pau Gasol, PF

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    Paul Gasol may be the biggest beneficiary of the Lakers' bringing in Steve Nash to play the point next season.

    As a big man who can score from both inside the paint and beyond the free-throw line, the pick-and-roll game is going to be at an all-time high for Gasol.

    Although he was a solid rebounder throughout the 2011-12 season, his point-per-game average and field-goal percentage dipped to the lowest they'd been in years.

    Gasol saw a bit of a drop-off last season, but he's still a big-time player in the NBA, and Nash may be the piece that gets him back to an All-Star level again next year.

Metta Wolrd Peace, SF

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    Metta World Peace looked like a clear-cut amnesty candidate at the beginning of the 2011-12 season, but a decent turnaround at the end of the year could be enough to keep him in this ultra-talented starting lineup.

    Before the 2012 All-Star Game, the former Ron Artest was averaging just 4.9 points and 2.8 rebounds while shooting a lowly 23.9 percent from beyond the arch.

    The second half of the season was a different story, as he increased his point average to nearly 11 per game and improved in practically every aspect on the court en route to a strong individual finish.

    Although you shouldn't expect to see a major statistical improvement next year, he could very well receive more open looks on the perimeter as a result of the ball being in Steve Nash's hands next season.

Kobe Bryant, SG

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    Kobe Bryant is a lock to be in anybody's starting lineup until he calls it quits, but the question is, will he truly benefit from Steve Nash running the point next season?

    Although it's all speculation until the season begins, the answer to the aforementioned question has to be a resounding yes.

    Bryant continues to be one of the league's top scorers despite entering his 17th season next year, and having a point guard who can get him the ball in the right spots is only going to help his efficiency.

    There's no denying that Bryant is one of the best isolation jump shooters in the game, but having a facilitator who can hit him off screens and create open looks could result in one of the better seasons of his illustrious NBA career.

Steve Nash, PG

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    If Steve Nash wanted to be surrounded by talent, he certainly got his wish this summer.

    As one of the best pick-and-roll point guards in the NBA, Nash is going to have two very big weapons in Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum on the block next season.

    Nash has played with some solid perimeter players throughout his career, but with a playmaker of Kobe Bryant's caliber in the same backcourt, the pressure to make plays on his own will be immensely less than it's been the past few years with the Phoenix Suns.

    But don't forget that Nash is also an extremely efficient scorer, himself.

    Having shot 53.2  percent from the field and 39 percent from the three-point line a season ago, Nash will enter Los Angeles as a facilitator who is also a major threat to shoot the ball.

    Nash's style of play may be a bit different from what the Lakers are used to, but the eight-time NBA All-Star and two-time NBA MVP will likely find success playing in one of the best starting lineups that the league has to offer.