Ranking Steve Nash's Favorite Targets Once He Returns to LA Lakers

Roberto PayneContributor IDecember 14, 2012

Ranking Steve Nash's Favorite Targets Once He Returns to LA Lakers

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    Steve Nash better start making a list of his favorite targets and checking it twice, because his return is approaching.

    The Los Angeles Lakers acquired Nash in the hope he could lead an all-star starting lineup, but injuries have derailed that plan so far.

    With that being said, Nash's injuries appear to be almost healed and he might even be back in action in two weeks, according to SportingNews.

    That means Nash could be dishing out plenty of assists and making his talented teammates look even better soon.

    Read on for a list of who should be Nash's five favorite targets once he returns from his leg injury.

No. 5. Jodie Meeks

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    For years, Steve Nash has been making teammates look much better than they actually are.

    His ability to set teammates up in the perfect position is truly extraordinary and is especially effective with three-point shooters.

    There aren't many shooters on this Los Angeles Lakers squad, but Jodie Meeks is arguably the team's best.

    Meeks is a stand-still shooter who feasts off catch-and-shoot opportunities, which happen to be a Nash speciality.

    Nash is great at penetrating and kicking to open shooters, and that will definitely mean open shots for Jodie Meeks.

    Expect a nice uptick in the scoring numbers for Meeks when Nash returns.

No. 4. Antawn Jamison

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    Antawn Jamison is not getting any younger and is far from the player he once was.

    No longer is he required to lead a team in scoring and he has seen a considerable decrease in his minutes per game.

    As Jamison evolves from a primary scorer to a floor spacer off the bench, he has started to shoot much more three-pointers. That number should only increase once Steve Nash returns.

    Jamison has the ability to create his own shot. However, in my opinion, he is better suited in a catch-and-shoot role.

    Like Jodie Meeks, Jamison should benefit from having a great passing point guard like Nash.

    Don't be surprised to see Jamison sneak in the finishing lineup—along with Nash—at the end of close games.

No. 3. Pau Gasol

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    Pau Gasol is another injured Los Angeles Lakers starter and he hasn't really had a chance to play with Steve Nash so far this season.

    Gasol is extremely versatile and will easily be the most skilled big man that Nash has every played with.

    The Spaniard has the ability to create his own shots, but he has played more around the perimeter this season, and could find himself primarily in that mid-range area even more when Nash returns.

    That fits Gasol's game, as he can consistently hit the mid-range jumper, but he is kind of an awkward fit in coach Mike D'Antoni's offense.

    Nash can easily find the open man and did so for many years in Phoenix, but he has never played in a system under D'Antoni with two big men.

    It was always one true low-post big man and a floor-spacing 4 together in the frontcourt.

    Nash and Gasol are talented enough to make things work, but the so-so fit of Gasol in the offense will push him back to being the third option for Nash.

No. 2. Kobe Bryant

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    Kobe Bryant is the best scorer on the Lakers roster and a top scorer in the NBA.

    However, he will not be Steve Nash's favorite target once Nash returns from injury.

    Nash has never had a backcourt teammate as talented as Bryant—not even remotely—and hasn't had much time to build up chemistry with him, either.

    Furthermore, Kobe's knack for orchestrating the offense himself will be challenged with the insertion of Nash in the starting lineup.

    Sure, Kobe has said he doesn't mind letting Nash handle the ball, but we haven't had the chance yet to see how that would work in D'Antoni's fast-paced offense.

    If the offense runs similarly to how Nash and D'Antoni ran it in Phoenix, it's safe to say Nash will dictate to whom the ball goes.

    Kobe and Nash will need time to adjust to each other, but both are veterans and are very intelligent players.

    Don't expect too much fighting for the rock between the Black Mamba and the two-time MVP.

No. 1. Dwight Howard

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    Everyone knows the real strength of Steve Nash is his ability to execute the pick-and-roll with dynamic big men.

    He did it wonderfully with a younger Amar'e Stoudemire and has a chance to have even more success with the ultra-athletic Dwight Howard.

    Howard is the NBA's premier low-post athlete and has been extremely effective at running the pick-and-roll game in his NBA career.

    Dwight established that prowess alongside Jameer Nelson and there's no doubt that Nash is much better at executing those two-man plays.

    Just think about how scary a Nash/Dwight duo will be and how many easy baskets Nash will get his All-Star big man.

    Nash and Dwight will be the NBA's predominant pick-and-roll duo. Along with Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol, they will be huge in the Los Angeles Lakers' quest for a title.