Comparing LA Lakers Big 4 to the Best Big 4's in the NBA
Like it or not, super teams are popping up all over the league, and while each of them has their own qualities to bring to the table, the Big Three's of yesterday have quickly been overshadowed.
A number of teams out there have the potential to groom their own Big Four's. The San Antonio Spurs are a piece away, the Denver Nuggets have potential all over their roster and the Dallas Mavericks, with the moves they made this summer, could establish their own Core Four if they jell early.
Even the Los Angeles Clippers have Big-Four possibilities if they can groom DeAndre Jordan and establish another go-to option on their ever-improving roster.
The best Big Four's have four well-established players, and while there are a number of teams with potential, there are a mere handful who qualify heading into the 2013 season.
Los Angeles Lakers
Big Four: Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard, Steve Nash, Pau Gasol
Following the moves made this summer, the Los Angeles Lakers should prove to have the best starting lineup in the NBA next season.
The additions of Dwight Howard and Steve Nash are going to make them contenders, but the presence of Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol will create for one of the most well-rounded units in all of basketball.
Bryant will still be the go-to option on offense, but he will have sidekicks at every turn who can take the pressure off him to score on any given possession.
This team has a legitimate star at four positions, including point guard and center, which many teams can’t claim heading into next year.
Nash and Howard should be great in L.A., and with Mike Brown introducing the Princeton offense, everybody should be involved as they contend out West next season.
Big Four: Derrick Rose, Luol Deng, Carlos Boozer, Joakim Noah
The Chicago Bulls have one of the most dangerous teams in the entire NBA when Derrick Rose is healthy.
The 23-year-old point guard is a top-tier player, and while he is often touted for his athleticism and scoring ability, he is a great passer who can also get his team involved.
His teammates aren’t scrubs, either. Luol Deng made his first All-Star appearance last year, Joakim Noah is a double-double guy and while Boozer isn’t the 20-point, 10-rebound threat he once was, he is still a solid presence on the glass and can score virtually anywhere inside 18 feet.
The Bulls suffered without Rose in the playoffs last season, but their core group is strong, and they can compete out East when their roster is fully intact.
This team is one of the better-coached squads in the NBA, and with the talent they have, they will continue to produce as long as they stay healthy.
Big Four: Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Gerald Wallace, Brook Lopez
The 2012-13 season will be the official debut of the Brooklyn Nets, and while the team has struggled as of late, they’re bringing a strong roster into their new arena next year.
Deron Williams is one of the league’s best point guards; Joe Johnson can put up 20 points in his sleep; Brook Lopez is one of the league’s best centers when healthy and Gerald Wallace is a high-energy player who can produce on both ends of the floor.
This team has potential, and if they can put it together, they could grow into one of the better teams out East before you know it.
It’s no secret that the Nets wanted Dwight Howard, but by keeping their squad mostly together, they’ve set themselves up for success as early as next season.
Big Four: Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Rajon Rondo, Courtney Lee
Admittedly, next year’s Boston Celtics squad will be more of a Big Three-and-a-Half.
The Big Three of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Rajon Rondo will propel this team to success next year, but the addition of Courtney Lee will help the organization begin building toward the future.
Lee is a great shooter and a very good defender, which are two things that will fit in perfectly with the Celtics upon his arrival.
It’s possible that Jason Terry proves to be the more integral part of their rotation, and while neither has the reputation that Ray Allen left behind, the two of them combined should help the fans forget about the player who spurned them for the Miami Heat this offseason.
If age doesn’t catch up to this team too quickly, the championship window will remain open through the 2012-13 season.
Oklahoma City Thunder
Big Four: Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, James Harden, Serge Ibaka
If the Oklahoma City Thunder can keep their Big Four intact, they will have one of the most promising young groups in the entire NBA.
Kevin Durant is a bona fide superstar; Russell Westbrook is a top-tier point guard; James Harden can shoot the lights out and Serge Ibaka is one of the best defenders that the league has to offer.
This team may not have been able to stop the Miami Heat last season, but there’s a reason they made it as far as they did.
Durant, Westbrook and Harden combined for 68.4 points per game in 2012, and while Ibaka won’t ever be a focal point of anybody’s offense, his improving mid-range game and incredible defense makes him vital to OKC’s success.
With an average age of under 23 years old, the Thunder’s Big Four will be a danger for opponents as long as they stick together.
Durant, Westbrook and Ibaka have all been locked up long-term, and if the team can add Harden to that list, they'll be the league's youngest dynasty as their success continues to grow beyond next season.
Coming off their 2012 NBA championship, the Miami Heat got even better with the signing of Ray Allen this offseason.
The 37-year-old is well beyond his prime, but the truth is that he’s going to fill an important role in Miami next year.
James and Wade will continue commanding double-teams, Bosh will spread the floor with his mid-range game and Allen will be a deadly shooter who can take the pressure off the go-to options in 2013.
Allen struggled throughout stretches last season, but as a potential reserve on next year’s team, he will know his role and do whatever it takes to win another ring before he retires.
The Big Three of James, Wade and Bosh have proven to be one of the league’s best cores, and with Allen on board next year, another championship run should be right around the corner.
Who Is the Best?
The Los Angeles Lakers have to be considered the best Big Four in the entire NBA next season.
It’s true that the new-look squad from L.A. has yet to step on the court, but knowing what we know about each individual player, this group is going to be scary if they can put it together in 2013.
Bringing in Steve Nash for draft picks was a genius acquisition by Mitch Kupchak, but acquiring Dwight Howard without giving up Pau Gasol has to be considered the best move of the summer.
The Miami Heat are going to contend with LeBron James and Dwyane Wade leading the way, and the Oklahoma City Thunder proved to be elite last year, but talent-wise, this team trumps them all.
The Lakers have arguably the best center in the league on their roster, and while Howard's back-down skills have never been great, his pick-and-roll game should flourish alongside one of the best facilitators in the league.
From point guard to center, this team is stacked.
Nash is one of the oldest players in the league, and Kobe Bryant is beginning to creep up there, too; but the two of them are still producing at high levels and they should continue to do so next year if health is in their favor.
Chemistry could very well prove to be an issue at the start of the new season, but if these guys can click, they’re going to be a dangerous group throughout the entire 2013 season.