Can Nash, Jamison and the Princeton Offense Lead the L.A Lakers to the Finals?
The Los Angeles Lakers managed to sign point guard Steve Nash in a major deal and forward Antawn Jamison in a minor one, and according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, the Lakers are switching their offense as well.
Will the additions of one of the NBA's all-time lead guards and one of the league's more respected and accomplished scorers, along with the institution of the Princeton offense lead the Lakers to their first NBA Finals berth since 2010?
Maybe not. But the Lakers sure are a lot closer to that goal than when the 2011-12 season ended.
Nash immediately upgraded the Lakers to a legitimate title contender, and while he is approaching 40, the Lakers will still have arguably the NBA's top back court in Nash and Kobe Bryant.
Jamison's one-year deal didn't cause much of a stir around the rest of the league, but Lakers fans should be ecstatic about the chance to add his scoring ability to the roster.
Jamison averaged 17.2 points per game last season for the Cleveland Cavaliers, which is pretty good when you consider he was the team's only real scoring option besides rookie point guard Kyrie Irving.
As the primary focus of opposing defenses, Jamison had to earn every single point he scored last season with the Cavaliers. Now that he'll be playing with Nash, Bryant, Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum, he should get a few more open looks next year.
The Lakers can now punish opponents offensively from every angle of the court, and the decision to switch to a more structured offense that compliments the big, slow and aging starters could make the Lakers even more lethal.
It should come as no surprise that the Lakers offensive switch was instigated by Bryant, who is looking for any edge, real or perceived, that would allow him to win an elusive 6th championship.
Bryant, who is quickly approaching 34, understands that his window for winning a title is closing quickly, and what better way to rekindle the chamionship flame than by installing an offense that utilizes the same intelligence and discipline as Tex Winter's famed triangle?
Pete Carril's offense is much more structured than the triangle, but it also emphasizes numerous cuts to the basket and big men who can pass well in the post.
That must be music to the ears of the oft-criticized Gasol.
Gasol often looked out of place in Brown's dribble-drive motion offense, but he should thrive in the pick and roll with Nash, and he will once again assume the role of the Lakers point guard in the paint.
Bryant talked to Wojnarowski about how the new system could specifically benefit Pau Gasol.
Steve is going to make it easier for Pau, because he's an incredible distributor, but the system is perfect for [Gasol]. His ability to pass the ball, to make plays from the high post – to shoot – is the perfect system for him.
There is plenty of truth in Bryant's words and it certainly seems the Lakers have taken definitive steps to correcting the issues that plagued them most by acquiring Nash, Jamison and re-signing forward Jordan Hill.
The Lakers managed to answer questions in the back court, on the bench and they may have finally solved the problem of Brown's offensive ineptitude by relieving him from the stress of having to worry about it.
The Princeton offense is built aroud the ability to read defenses and react, as well as recognizing a team's defensive weaknesses and exploiting them.
Brown has never had much success in any of those categories, but an offense that effectively renders his decision-making in end game situations irrelevant is good for the team. And it also helps Brown concentrate on the area of the game where he can have a real impact.
The Lakers proved they could be a strong efensive team under Brown's guidance but the offense could never catch up.
Next season the Lakers offense will likely be far ahead of the defense with Nash at the helm, but will they still be looking up to Oklahoma City, San Antonio and ultimately LeBron James and the Miami Heat?
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