Dwight Howard to Los Angeles Lakers: Why Thunder Are Still Top Team in West
Dwight Howard finally got his wish.
After months of speculation and failed trade offers, Howard is finally headed to the Los Angeles Lakers. The Orlando Magic dealt him in a four-team trade also involving the Denver Nuggets and Philadelphia 76ers, according to ESPN.
Assuming this trade becomes official, the Lakers now have a projected starting lineup of Steve Nash, Kobe Bryant, Metta World Peace, Pau Gasol and Howard.
Although it is easy to peg the Lakers as the team to beat in the Western Conference, the Oklahoma City Thunder are a young team coming off an NBA Finals appearance. Theoretically, they should only be stronger in 2012-13.
Considering the age of the Lakers' projected starting lineup (32), the young Thunder lineup (average age of 25) will have youth and athleticism on their side. Bryant, Nash, Gasol, and World Peace still may not be able to combat the speed of guys like Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and James Harden.
All of the Lakers additions may not add up to them winning a championship, especially with Nash and Bryant on the decline. They definitely have a chance to win a championship, but with their age being a factor, can they compete with the younger teams in the NBA like the Thunder and Heat?
Until another team beats them in the regular season, Durant and Co. are still the team to beat in the West, no matter how good this new Lakers squad looks on paper. That's why they play the game.
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