Los Angeles Lakers: A Bright Future with or Without Dwight Howard
While trade rumors from ESPN continue to circulate surrounding Dwight Howard and the Lakers, the future for the consistently dominant Los Angeles squad looks bright regardless of the Orlando center’s presence.
With the addition of Steve Nash and the recent signing of Antawn Jamison and strong bench player Jordan Hill, the Lakers squad for next year looks as formidable as ever.
Adding Nash provides, for the first time, a pass-first point guard who sees the game like no other in the NBA. Nash will automatically direct attention from opposing guards, opening up more scoring opportunities for Kobe Bryant. Nash’s ability to read defenses will allow him to locate Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum for easy buckets, and will elevate the team as a whole.
Defensively, Nash will also help slow down opposing offenses like that of the fast-paced Oklahoma City Thunder, putting the Lakers as an early favorite to push past Durant and into the NBA Finals.
Mirroring the days when a dynamic player like Lamar Odom came off the bench for the Lakers, Antawn Jamison provides the same element. As a backup and sixth man, Jamison will bring a scoring threat off the bench that the Lakers lacked last season down the stretch. As a 15-year veteran without a ring, Jamison’s drive for a title will elevate his play even more.
A bench of Jamison, Hill, Steve Blake and rising star Devin Ebanks seems incredibly adequate for a championship squad. While the rumors of a Leandro Barbosa signing start to surface (from ESPN's Marc Stein), Barbosa would further increase the necessary depth for the Lakers to take down the Miami Heat.
The Lakers organization should be confident with the current squad they have as Howard talks continue. There is no need to give up more than needed to secure the All-Star center’s transfer to Los Angeles.
While the championship celebrations and calls for a repeat continue in South Beach, Heat fans should be wary of the new Los Angeles Lakers. The NBA title could be coming back to L.A.
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