L.A. Lakers: What to Expect from Each Player in the 2012-13 Season
The Los Angeles Lakers may not be done this offseason, but they've already added some intriguing pieces, including superstar point guard Steve Nash.
They've also agreed to a deal with a two-time All-Star to back up the forward positions and re-signed an emerging young rebounder.
Here's a look at the Lakers' probable starting lineup for 2012-13 season, as well as the key bench players.
PG: Steve Nash
Steve Nash may be 38 years old, but he also made his eighth All-Star team last season, averaging 12.5 points and 10.7 assists while shooting 53 percent from the floor and 39 percent from downtown.
While Nash isn't the defensive-minded point guard the Lakers were seeking last season, he more than makes up for it on offense. He will likely be an All-Star in Los Angeles next season, and he has more weapons to play with than in Phoenix.
SG: Kobe Bryant
What else can be said about Kobe Bryant?
Bryant may be 33 years old and heading toward retirement, but the 14-time All-Star and five-time world champion still averaged 27.9 points, 5.4 rebounds and 4.6 assists last season.
Bryant's field-goal percentage went down a bit last season (43 percent), but now he has a better point guard to feed him the ball. He's still one of the elite players in the league.
SF: Metta World Peace
Metta World Peace being Metta World Peace.
You never quite know what World Peace is going to do out on the basketball court, but Bryant reiterated in the playoffs last season that he always brings his all.
World Peace's offensive game has declined throughout the years, but it's also worth noting the 32-year-old's PER has dropped, as well. He's still a good defender, but not as good as he used to be on that side of the floor, in part due to his declining athleticism. He's a decent role player at this stage of this career.
PF: Pau Gasol
Pau Gasol has been a polarizing figure in Los Angeles the past couple of seasons.
On one hand, Gasol averaged 17.4 points, 10.4 rebounds and 1.4 blocks for the Lakers last season, while shooting 50 percent from the floor (including a solid PER of 20.58, per Hoopdata.com).
On the other hand, Gasol's play dropped dramatically in the playoffs, as he averaged 12.5 points and 9.5 rebounds while shooting 43 percent from the field and his post defense was questionable.
Based on what I've seen the past two seasons, I'm sure Gasol will have another solid regular season in 2012-13, but what he does in the playoffs is anyone's guess. Perhaps Nash will help him in that regard, feeding him in the low post.
C: Andrew Bynum
Andrew Bynum, like Gasol, faded in the playoffs last season, particularly on the defensive end of the floor.
But the fact remains: If Bynum plays inspired basketball, he's the second-best center in the league (I won't mention the other guy because I'm sure we're all tired of hearing about him).
Bynum averaged a career-high 18.7 points and 11.8 rebounds last season, while shooting 55 percent from the floor. He also averaged 1.9 blocks. His PER was 23.01, per Hoopdata.com.
Regardless of whether Bynum wants to stay in L.A., he is sure to be motivated next season, given he's setup for free agency in 2013. It could turn out to be the best season of his career.
Key Bench Players
PG: Steve Blake
Steve Blake was never going to win any Defensive Player of the Year awards, but his offensive game also plummeted once he joined the Lakers in 2011.
Blake shot just 37 percent from the field last season, while shooting 33 percent from downtown. His PER was a measly 8.49, per Hoopdata.com.
I would like to give Lakers fans hope in regards to Blake, but he simply hasn't shown much the past two seasons. Maybe Nash can give him some pointers.
F: Antawn Jamison
Will Antawn Jamison make a significant impact off the bench?
Like Blake, Antawn Jamison isn't a very good defensive player. In fact, he may be worse on that end of the floor.
But Jamison still has the ability to be a good scorer. His shooting percentage fell each season with the Cleveland Cavaliers, but he may just need a change of scenery.
When on his game, Jamison can be a scoring and rebounding threat. I think he'll play better than last season, but I don't expect his numbers to resemble 2009's. He should be a decent option off the bench for Los Angeles.
F/C: Jordan Hill
Last but not least, we have Jordan Hill, the No. 8 overall pick of the 2009 NBA draft.
Hill not only had the highest PER of his career last season (15.80), he also had the highest rebound rate (19.5), per ESPN.
Hill also averaged 0.9 blocks in just 12 minutes per game for the Lakers in the regular season, and had eight blocks in 12 postseason games.
Hill still needs to improve his post defense, but he's certainly established himself as an emerging threat on the glass, and any team could take that.
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