LA Lakers: Stat Projections for Dwight Howard and Each Offseason Addition
Not bad for a team within a few possessions of beating the Western Conference champions.
Thanks to these new additions, this is the most talented team the Lakers have had since Shaquille O'Neal was winning MVPs.
Here is a projection of how the new additions are going to perform in the Lakers' quest for an 18th NBA championship.
Center: Dwight Howard
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Per-Game Stat Prediction: 18.1 points, 12.9 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.2 steals, 2.5 blocks, 58% field goal, 0% three point, and 52% free throw.
Superman Part Two is about to start filming in Los Angeles.
The Lakers traded for the best defensive center in Howard, making them instant NBA title favorites.
Coming off back surgery and adjusting to being the third or fourth option on offense should drop his point total, even with Nash spoon-feeding him dunks.
Expect his assist total to be its highest ever. With Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash to kick it out to, how could it not be? His defensive numbers should be stellar and on par with his career averages.
Entering in yet another contract year will provide Howard with even more incentive to post high averages.
Point Guard: Steve Nash
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Per-Game Stat Prediction: 15.5 points, 2.7 rebounds, 11.2 assists, 0.5 steals, 0.1 blocks, 52% field goal, 44% three point, and 88% free throw.
Steve Nash has won two MVP awards and made eight All-Star appearances in his career. Now, even at 38 years old, he could end up having his best NBA season.
Nash has never played with this much talent, and it's scary to think how good he can make the Lakers.
Nash's assist totals should be high even with limited minutes. He will be setting the table for Kobe Bryant, running a high screen with Pau Gasol and simply throwing it up in the air anywhere near Howard with ease.
Nash deserved to play with a title contender to end his career. It's going to be fun to watch.
Shooting Guard: Jodie Meeks
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Per-Game Stat Prediction: 9.0 points, 1.9 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 0.7 steals, 0.1 blocks, 44% field goal, 40% three point, and 89% free throw.
The Lakers needed a shooter, and they got one in Jodie Meeks.
Meeks, like any other perimeter shooter on the Lakers this year, should have career highs in shooting percentages with all the open looks that Howard and Gasol will create.
With all the talent the Lakers have, they can now afford to to limit Bryant's minutes. Meeks will get the chance to step in and take advantage of that playing time.
Power Forward: Antawn Jamison
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Per-Game Stat Prediction: 15.1 points, 6.1 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 0.7 steals, 0.6 blocks, 47% field goal, 35% three point, and 72% free throw.
Playing for an NBA title favorite as the sixth man, Jamison may have finally found his true calling.
It won't be foreign to him, either. He was the sixth man during his one-year stint with the Dallas Mavericks.
Jamison's scoring ability is going to bolster a bench that seriously lacked offensive firepower.
Jamison will prove to be a fantastic addition for the Lakers. He should be able to produce numbers that mirror his averages in Dallas.
Point Guard: Chris Duhon
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Per-Game Stat Prediction: 4.8 points, 1.7 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 0.8 steals, 0.1 blocks, 40% field goal, 38% three point, and 80% free throw.
Only on a team with Steve Blake could Chris Duhon actually be of value.
With Blake's ups and downs, Duhon might get a shot at some minutes behind Nash.
He has a chance to be productive for L.A. If he can play solid defense and find the open man, he could end up earning the backup spot.
If Duhon finds the court, expect numbers similar to the averages above.
SF/PF: Earl Clark
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Per-Game Stat Prediction: 3.1 points, 2.8 rebounds, 0.5 assists, 0.6 steals, 0.8 blocks, 37% field goal, 0% three point, and 68% free throw.
If Earl Clark is ever going to make name for himself in the NBA, this is the year to do it.
Despite his athleticism and size at 6'10", Clark hasn't been productive in any of his NBA seasons.
Clark has the potential to be a defensive force. If his offensive game catches up to his defensive ability, he may find his way on the court.
Being able to run the floor is only going to help his chances to play alongside Nash.
PG/SG: Darius Johnson-Odom
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Per-Game Stat Prediction: 2.3 points, 1.0 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 0.5 steals, 0.1 blocks, 41% field goal, 35% three point, and 71% free throw.
The Lakers saw something in Darius Johnson-Odom to trade for him on draft night, so expect him to make the opening day roster.
Johnson-Odom is a good outside shooter who is very athletic and can play defense.
His drawback is he is a shooting guard in a point guard body.
Throw in his subpar ball-handling and passing skills, and the odds of him being able to make a major contribution are slim.
Center: Robert Sacre
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Per-Game Stat Prediction: 2.7 points, 2.8 rebounds, 0.6 assists, 0.3 steals, 0.8 blocks, 47% field goal, 0% three point, and 72% free throw.
Since he was the final pick in the 2012 NBA draft, it's hard to expect much from Robert Sacre.
He did average nine points per game in summer league play, and he can play defense, so he will likely make the roster.
Expecting anything more than the averages above is asking too much out of the rookie.