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5 L.A. Lakers Who Absolutely Must Avoid Injury This Preseason

Jeff NisiusContributor IIAugust 28, 2016

5 L.A. Lakers Who Absolutely Must Avoid Injury This Preseason

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    The preseason in any sport is a time for teams to work out their bad habits and develop chemistry before the season begins.  That is, as long as those dreaded preseason injuries do not ruin the start of a successful season.

    Much like they have done in the past, the Los Angeles Lakers had a historic offseason.   Dwight Howard and Steve Nash joined forces with Kobe Bryant, making the Lakers one of the favorites to win the NBA title this season.  However, talent is worthless when dressed in street clothes on the end of the bench.

    In order for the Lakers to fulfill their lofty expectations, it is essential these five players stay healthy this preseason.

Jodie Meeks

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    The Los Angeles Lakers were in desperate need of floor spacing last season, finishing 25th in three-point percentage.  Steve Blake was the only consistent threat from three-point range last season, but that should change with the addition of Jodie Meeks.

    Meeks signed for a mere $3.4 million, but will play a pivotal role as the team’s sharpshooter.  Opposing defenses are bound to focus their attention on the other Laker stars, leaving Meeks with plenty of open looks from three.

    Losing Jodie Meeks’ shooting to a preseason injury would not derail the season but would definitely make things more difficult for the Lakers’ offense.

Pau Gasol

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    Seemingly a forgotten man since the additions of Dwight Howard and Steve Nash, Pau Gasol may be the Lakers' X-factor this year. 

    Gasol is as skilled as any big man in the NBA and his talents on offense help make the other four players on the court better.  His willingness to share the ball combined with his passing ability will make it easier to incorporate Howard and Nash into the offense.

    Furthermore, a healthy Gasol gives the Lakers a major advantage over the rest of the teams in the Western Conference due to the size of the frontcourt.

Steve Nash

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    The addition of Steve Nash provides the Lakers with one of the best backcourts in the league.  However, the attention early in the season will be on the team’s chemistry. 

    Kobe Bryant has never played with a ball-dominating point guard, let alone one who can make him a more dangerous player.  The best way to become acclimated to each other is to be on the floor together as much as possible.

    An early injury to Nash could prolong the adjustment period the two superstars will need to find a rhythm playing together. Additionally, Nash is 38 years old and the last thing the Lakers need is for him to be nursing a nagging injury early in the season.

Dwight Howard

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    The Lakers’ newest All-Star big man is targeting a return for the season opener after having offseason surgery on a herniated disc in his back.  While there is no need to rush Howard back into action, the worst thing that could happen to the Lakers is for Howard to aggravate his injury by attempting to come back too soon.

    Pau Gasol and Jordan Hill provide the Lakers enough quality big men to overcome a setback in Howard’s recovery, but back injuries can linger, and Howard is the key to the Lakers making another title run. 

    While chemistry is important, having one of the best centers in the NBA healthy is essential.

Kobe Bryant

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    Kobe Bryant has long been the key to the Los Angeles Lakers' success.  While this season is no different, one would be hard-pressed to find a more talented Laker team that Kobe has been on.

    Regardless, the Lakers will go as far as Kobe Bryant takes them.  Bryant’s health has been in question over the past few seasons, especially after undergoing an experimental procedure last offseason on his continually hurt left knee.

    Bryant’s health is paramount this year, beginning with the preseason.  Kobe plays through pain as well as any player in recent memory, but he must avoid injuries prior to the season opener to build chemistry.

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