The return of Steve Nash to the Los Angeles Lakers' starting lineup cannot happen fast enough for one seven-foot Spanish basketball player who thrives in a motion offense that rewards good passing.
Steve Nash came to L.A. in order to play alongside Pau Gasol, the two-time NBA champion who, despite tendinitis and a badly bruised ego, is still regarded as one of the league's premier, skilled big men.
It appears that Nash and Gasol will finally get that opportunity this month, and it could not come at a better time.
The Lakers collectively have taken on the aura of the once-laughable L.A. Clippers, entering an extended four-game road trip this week with an embarrassing record of 9-12. Opposing teams have their number and are exploiting weaknesses with a regularity that borders on the ridiculous.
Under Mike D'Antoni, the Lakers are being questioned hourly about a stunning lack of defense, a haphazard, hurry-up offense and a perceived lack of discipline and passion.
Since the middle of the second game of the season, the Lakers have been without the services of the still exceptional Steve Nash, and that has cost them dearly.
Nash may not be the world's best defender, but he is one of the NBA's all-time point guards, and he's champing at the bit to work with Gasol, who is one of the game's most fluid big men.
There are a number of reasons why Nash and Gasol will make a formidable pair. Will it be enough to get the Lakers finally on track? Hard to say, though it will obviously help.
A healthy Steve Nash will make everyone (including Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard) on the Lakers better. It stands to reason, though, that the player most likely to benefit is Pau Gasol. He will thrive in a Nash-led offense.