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Stat Projections for Los Angeles Lakers Starters After Steve Nash Trade

Maxwell OgdenCorrespondent IIISeptember 7, 2016

Stat Projections for Los Angeles Lakers Starters After Steve Nash Trade

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    The 2012 NBA season was one of a variety of emotions for the Los Angeles Lakers. Emotions that the franchise hopes to never experience again.

    A promising season was lost in the postseason when Kobe Bryant's greatest efforts were trumped by a lack of depth and balance in the Lakers' lineup. They couldn't defend their quicker opponents and lacked the necessary presence to facilitate their offense. As a result, Bryant was thrust into the role of lead facilitator.

    One that he simply could not flourish in.

    As the Summer of 2012 rolled around, we all expected the Los Angeles Lakers to make a big move to shake things up in their weakened lineup. What we did not expect, however, were the events of early July when Showtime returned to Los Angeles.

    In a stunning turn of events, the Los Angeles Lakers completed a sign-and-trade to acquire former rival and two-time MVP Steve Nash. For the first time in Kobe Bryant's tenure with the Lakers, there is now an elite point guard in the backcourt alongside him.

    The question is, how will he fare? More importantly, how will he affect the players around him? For the answer to those questions and a full breakdown of the starting lineup around him, click that beautiful orange button at the bottom of your screen and begin this slideshow.

Point Guard: Steve Nash

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    Steve Nash has never had a team with this much talent around him. While one could argue that Shawn Marion, Joe Johnson and Amar'e Stoudemire once provided him with such ability, there really isn't a comparison in this instance.

    Steve Nash will have a field day running point for the Los Angeles Lakers.

    Expect Nash's numbers to shoot right up to "Is this a video game?" status. He'll top 12 assists per game with the presence of both Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol off of the pick-and-roll, as well as Kobe Bryant on the surprising pick-and-pop opportunities.

    Throw in veterans such as Metta World Peace and Antawn Jamison, and you have yourself a huge year from the man they call "Nashty." 

    Projected Season Averages

    11.0 PPG, 12.4 APG, 3.0 RPG, 0.8 SPG

Shooting Guard: Kobe Bryant

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    The question on everyone's mind is the most simple to ask and complex to answer: how will Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash co-exist? Plain and simply, in perfect harmony.

    Kobe Bryant's field goal percentages dipped in a major way in 2012, as he was consistently forced to create his own shot. With one of the greatest facilitators of all time running the Lakers offense, that is unlikely to be an issue in 2013. Instead, expect Bryant to work without the basketball in his hands and be hit for open shots and streaks to the basket.

    Expect Bryant's numbers to go down slightly in terms of points per game, as Nash works the ball around in a more balanced manner. With that being said, Kobe's field goal percentages should see a rise and his scoring should remain at a premium.

    For those concerned with Bryant's ego, remember one important fact: There's one thing more important to Kobe Bryant than scoring: winning. If the Lakers are getting the W's, there is no problem in Los Angeles.

     

    Projected Season Averages

    26.7 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 4.1 APG, 1.6 SPG, 46.1% FG

Small Forward: Metta World Peace

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    Quietly but surely, Metta World Peace is singing the Los Angeles Lakers' praises for landing a franchise point guard. No longer will World Peace serve as a secondary or even tertiary option as a lead ball handler.

    Instead, he'll be able to impose his will on smaller defenders and get back to what he does best—defend and spread the floor.

    World Peace will see his three-point field goal percentage rise significantly. He'll also see his shot attempts drop as his focus on the defensive end improves. This will come as a result of the fact that he's no longer the only capable scorer from the perimeter not named Kobe Bean Bryant.

    His numbers won't dazzle but they will certainly help.

    Projected Season Averages

    8.9 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 1.7 APG, 1.4 SPG, 38.0% 3PT

Power Forward: Pau Gasol

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    No player will benefit from the arrival of Steve Nash quite like Pau Gasol.

    The 11-year veteran is coming off of a postseason in which he posted a dismal average of 12.5 points on 43.4 percent shooting. This came as a direct result of the Lakers lack of a true point guard, as Kobe Bryant often found Gasol on the high post while serving as the lead facilitator.

    With Steve Nash running things, however, Gasol can be expected to see much more high percentage looks as he finishes around the basket.

    Gasol will be able to work the pick-and-roll to perfection with Nash at the point. He'll also be able to work off of drive-and-dish opportunities when defenses close out on the ball handling maestro. Regardless of how he gets it done, Gasol will get it done.

    Expect a major turnaround season.

    Projected Season Averages

    21.2 PPG, 11.2 RPG, 3.6 APG, 1.7 BPG

Center: Andrew Bynum

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    You know how Andrew Bynum has been thrown into the fire this offseason? Don't expect him to forget that.

    Dwight Howard has been called the savior of the Lakers for a handful of reasons, most specifically his defense. The fact of the matter is, Andrew Bynum is the guy who set an NBA postseason record for blocks in a single game in 2012. Expect that level of effort to carry over to 2013 on a nightly basis.

    While he won't tally 10 per night, of course, he will become a true force on defense. This will lead the Lakers to victory as the long-needed presence of a dominant interior defender finally arrives.

    Andrew Bynum will compete for first team All-NBA recognition.

    Projected Season Averages

    20.4 PPG, 12.3 RPG, 1.5 APG, 2.7 BPG

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