L.A. Lakers Definitely Shouldn't Make a Move Before the NBA Deadline
With the NBA Trade Deadline still looming, the Los Angeles Lakers don't necessarily need new weapons to make things work.
Following the Lakers' victory over the New York Knicks on Christmas Day, it appears that Steve Nash had the keys to all of the Lakers' problems.
Although the sample size is currently too small to truly determine, it appears that the Lakers have the tools and the talent to right the ship before they have to do anything too drastic in terms of personnel.
Despite still playing shoddy interior defense in Nash's first game back, the Lakers' performance against the offensively dominant New York Knicks was eye opening.
Their offensive fluidity and defensive effort has been heightened due to their increased enthusiasm. D'Antoni's inference that Nash's offensive impact will trigger defensive effort might not have been just a blanket statement to cover up for their problems on the defensive end.
The Lakers have always had all of the talent. However, the pieces have never translated well on the court and their weaknesses were highlighted.
Dwight Howard's poor free-throw shooting, the Lakers' overall lack of transition defense and Kobe Bryant's propensity to stop ball movement had all been vices that have kept the Lakers from greatness.
Although Nash's return doesn't solve all of their woes, it has seemed to mask them.
Averaging 14 points, 10 assists and only three turnovers per game, Nash has helped the Lakers average 109 points in both of the games he has played in.
Furthermore, the Lakers allowed only eight fast-break points from the Knicks' offense. Transition defense had been their weakness throughout the season. It is ironic how the return of a defensively deficient point guard has reinvigorated their entire defense.
In terms of their interior play, Howard still doesn't look like the dominant defensive presence he was back in his Orlando Magic days. However, the only remedy to that is time. Once Howard's back is completely healed, the Lakers will have the tools to enforce the toughest interior defense in the league.
Nash's impact on team chemistry is most prominently showcased via Pau Gasol's improved play.
Although he is only averaging 11 points and nine rebounds in the two games since Nash's return, his six assists per game in that span show that Nash has been allowing Gasol to run the offense at points as well.
Gasol's biggest strengths lie in his post play and his passing. With Nash back in the fold, he has allowed Gasol to use both facets of his game while also appeasing Kobe Bryant.
Bryant's streak of 30-point games has continued despite Nash's return, and it appears as if the two veterans will be able to coexist in D'Antoni's system.
Although two games is hardly enough time to tell if the Lakers are going to drastically improve from their mediocre start, the fact that they beat two proven playoff teams after Nash's return show that Nash's impact isn't all hype.
If there is truly substance to the Lakers' current roster with all of their pieces intact, it would be detrimental to their development to make a big move as the NBA Trade Deadline nears.
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