Will Nash be able to stop the league's best point guards after recovering from a leg injury? This is a real concern for the Lakers, who have struggled on defense at times this year.
The Lakers defense hasn't been awful this season, but it is not on a championship level, and for the team to contend in the Western Conference, it has to improve in several areas.
Here's where the Lakers rank in several important defensive categories thus far:
|Defensive 3-PT %||.355||16th|
The Lakers aren't creating enough turnovers on defense, and this has prevented them from igniting their fast break as often as head coach Mike D'Antoni would like.
Los Angeles is also allowing way too many points per game this season. You cannot give up almost 100 points per game and expect to win games consistently, even if your offense has the talent and depth that the Lakers have.
For the Lakers to win the NBA Finals, the team's focus must be on defense. Any team with Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard is going to score plenty of points each game, so the key to success will be strong defense in all areas of the floor.
Another concern for the Lakers this season has been their transition defense. And with so many of the conference's best teams having rosters full of young and athletic players, D'Antoni has to find ways to improve this area of his team.
When Nash comes back, his primary objective should be to help the Lakers as much as he can defensively, because the Western Conference's best teams are led by talented point guards who excel offensively.
Tony Parker of the San Antonio Spurs, Russell Westbrook of the Oklahoma City Thunder, Chris Paul of the Los Angeles Clippers and Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors are top-tier point guards who will dominate the Lakers offensively unless Nash is able to improve at the defensive end of the floor.
Nash must improve the Lakers' perimeter and transition defense when he returns. That's how the star point guard can make a positive impact on the team's success this season.