L.A. Lakers: Hill, Jamison Deals Put Lakers Closer to Title Than Howard Would
The Los Angeles Lakers decision to re-sign Jordan Hill coupled with the recent deal accepted by forward Antawn Jamison means the Lakers might have solved one of their two biggest concerns entering the 2012-13 season.
The previously announced acquisition of point guard Steve Nash solves the other.
After the Lakers second consecutive defeat in the second round of the NBA postseason it was apparent that their most glaring weaknesses going forward were lack of production from the lead guard position and the bench.
I would say the Lakers have addressed those needs pretty well by signing one of the NBA's most consistent and underrated scorers in Jamison, and one of the most visionary point guards in league history in Nash.
Hill is just icing on the cake.
Last season Jamison averaged 17.2 points per game for a Cleveland Cavaliers team with few other scoring options, and no other players besides Kyrie Irving to relieve some of the offensive pressure.
Not this season. The 2012-13 Lakers should have scoring options all over the court, with the privilege of being directed by one of the best maestros to ever play the game.
Nash may be 38 but he still plays the game with a youthful flair, and he's never had the opportunity to play with three of the best players in the game at their position in Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum.
And Jamison and Hill should ensure that the Lakers will retain some energy and scoring punch when the best starting four in the NBA exits the court for a breather.
I'm not sure if the Lakers moves have put them in position to be labeled as favorites for next season, but I do know the current roster should be good enough to challenge for a title, and they don't need Dwight Howard to do it.
The Howard saga has managed to drag on much longer than it ever had any right to, and if Howard was not so gullible it would have already ended long before now.
Instead the general public continues to be bombarded with a perpetual soap opera drama of where will Howard end up, and will he sign a contract extension with any other team than the Brooklyn Nets.
For once we should all take Howard for his word and assume that his dream is to play for a team that will always be the Nets regardless of what city they play in, and the Lakers specifically should get back to the more important task at hand.
And that goal should be taking full advantage of Bryant's few remaining seasons as an elite player, and Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak certainly deserves an A in that category as of now, so why be greedy?
To most Lakers fans Howard would be the ultimate coup for a team that has solidified their status as a legitimate NBA Finals contender, but I'm not convinced the organization needs him.
The Lakers completed the rare feat of addressing their most glaring flaws through their offseason activity, and anything else beyond this point would just be overkill.
The Lakers will have the NBA's oldest starting back court next season, but they will also have arguably the league's most talented in Bryant and Nash to go along with the NBA's biggest and equally talented front court as well.
And imagine how good the Lakers seven-foot tandem of Bynum and Gasol will look with Nash at the helm.
The Lakers still have questions surrounding their bid to return to the NBA Finals, but Howard isn't the answer for any of them.
In fact, Howard's insistence on playing for the Nets should be all the answer Kupchak and the Lakers need when it comes to dealing with the indecisive center.
If Howard wants to share the city and the spotlight with Carmelo Anthony and the New York Knicks, and lose to LeBron James and the Miami Heat every year in the playoffs why should the Lakers stop him?
The moves the Lakers have made during the summer have inched them closer to the Finals than they have been since 2010, and passing on Howard doesn't make that statement any less true.
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