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3 Teams That Are Still Better Than the L.A. Lakers After 2012 Offseason

Adam FromalNational NBA Featured ColumnistJuly 31, 2012

3 Teams That Are Still Better Than the L.A. Lakers After 2012 Offseason

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    The Los Angeles Lakers made a lot of noise during the 2012 offseason, adding Steve Nash, among other pieces. 

    They may not be done yet with Dwight Howard still on the trading block, but for now, I'm evaluating them without D12. 

    Despite the presence of one of the best point guards in the league, the Lakers still aren't the best team in the league. 

    There are three better, and you'll have to read on to find out who they are. 

Lakers Depth Chart

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    The Los Angeles Lakers made a number of big moves during the 2012 NBA offseason, most notably trading some draft picks for Steve Nash, signing Antawn Jamison and re-signing Jordan Hill. 

    Now that the Canadian point guard is set to be a mainstay in the lineup, the Lakers have arguably the greatest starting five in the NBA. 

    The bench still needs a little work, but as the saying goes, you can't have your cake and eat it too. That only works sometimes. 

    Here's what the Lakers are looking at right now. 

     

    Point Guard: Steve Nash, Darius Morris, Steve Blake

    Shooting Guard: Kobe Bryant, Andrew Goudelock, Darius Johnson-Odom

    Small Forward: Metta World Peace, Devin Ebanks, Christian Eyenga

    Power Forward: Pau Gasol, Antawn Jamison, Josh McRoberts

    Center: Andrew Bynum, Jordan Hill, Robert Sacre

Boston Celtics

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    The Boston Celtics are the worst of the three teams that are featured in this article, and they're truthfully only ever so slightly better than their bitter rivals. However, they are still better. 

    While Boston lost two nice pieces in Ray Allen and Greg Stiemsma, it found a better host of replacements. 

    Stiemsma may have more potential, but new acquisition Jason Collins is just as good at defense, and the C's aren't really looking for offense from the backup center. 

    Losing Allen is emotionally painful, but it opens the door for a trio of solid shooting guards: Avery Bradley (when healthy), Jason Terry and Courtney Lee. 

    With Rajon Rondo, Paul Pierce, Brandon Bass and Kevin Garnett also remaining in place, this team is actually better than they were a year before, when they advanced to the Eastern Conference finals. 

Miami Heat

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    The defending champions only improved during the offseason. 

    LeBron James is looking better than ever—especially with the monkey of his back—and Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Mario Chalmers and the rest of the key contributors will be returning to South Beach. 

    Helping the repeat efforts for the Miami Heat now, Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis also joined forces with the Big Three and will both make large impacts off the bench. 

    When you win a title, status quo can be good enough. It wasn't for the Heat, who decided to get better. 

    That's a scary thought for the rest of the league to ponder leading up to the 2012-13 season. 

Oklahoma City Thunder

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    The Oklahoma City Thunder are the defending champions of the Western Conference, although I'm sure they wish that "Western Conference" read "entire NBA" right now. 

    Just like the Miami Heat, the Thunder only got better during the offseason with the drafting of Perry Jones III, the signing of Hasheem Thabeet and the return to health of Eric Maynor. 

    Plus, another year of experience can only do good things for the young stars of the Thunder.

    Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, James Harden and Serge Ibaka all have yet to reach their ceilings. 

    Trading for Dwight Howard would put the Los Angeles Lakers ahead of the Thunder, but they're not there yet after losing to their potential rivals in the playoffs last year. 

Contenders Who Are Close

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    San Antonio Spurs

    The acquisition of Steve Nash pushed the Los Angeles Lakers back ahead of the San Antonio Spurs, even though the Spurs are bringing back Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker. 

    Age is inevitably going to be a factor for the Spurs. 

     

    Chicago Bulls

    Without a healthy Derrick Rose, it's hard to boost the Chicago Bulls up that much. 

    The Bulls are still going to be dangerous in the playoffs, especially because Rose will have returned by then, but without the former MVP point guard and the dismantling of the bench mob, they don't appear to be better than the Lakers. 

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