Los Angeles Lakers: Nash Provides One of Two Needed Changes for Lakers

David Weiss@<a href="https://twitter.com/Davinchy83" class="twitter-follow-button" data-show-count="false">Follow @Davinchy83</a> <script>!function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?'http':'https';if(!d.getElementById(id)){jsCorrespondent IIIJuly 6, 2012

Will Kobe get in Nash's way?
Will Kobe get in Nash's way?Harry How/Getty Images

Based on the way the Lakers fell short this past season in five games to a young, hungry Oklahoma City team, people have begun to write them off as an old dog ready to be put to sleep.

Which, in a poignant way, meant that an injection of new life (Steve Nash), while helpful, could never pay the same dividends for them as walking through the fountain the youth (Dwight Howard).

Nevertheless, there are two changes that desperately needed to take place in La-La Land: a culture change and a regime change.

And with the addition of Steve Nash, a two-time MVP, the former has now been addressed while the latter is still up for debate.

The first mistake media pundits made with the arrival of Nash is trying to quantify what he brings to LA. Only, can you really get away with that when dealing with a former MVP?

To be sure, maybe we should ask the Lakers crosstown rivals that question.

Chris Paul came to the Clippers last season and elevated them from a lottery team to a second-round exit in the playoffs. And, yes, while Paul was never a former MVP, he has been a perennial candidate virtually his entire career. Stack his numbers against the other top PGs in the league and maybe you won't see what he brings to the table.

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But he was able to change the culture in LA.

Okay, maybe that example doesn't really fit the bill well enough.

So, let's go a little further outside LA, all the way to the Eastern Conference and the vaunted nemesis Boston Celtics.

They just gave Kevin GarnettΒ  the exact same deal the Lakers signed Steve Nash to. And even though Garnett is two years younger than Nash, his health problems have been well-documented throughout the course of his time in Boston.

So why did the Celtics keep him instead of holding off for a brighter tomorrow with a younger player?

Because the former MVP is a culture changer.

Which is why you can't quantify the age of a former MVP just as much as you can't dwell on how long it's been since they last achieved the award.

And if you don't think the Lakers needed a culture change, you're only kidding yourself. Think about how a team that boasts one of the 10 best players, one of the top two best centers and one of the top 10 best big men in the league finished 15th in offensive efficiency.

Did that maybe have something to do with Kobe frequently taking more shots in a game than Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol combined?

Think maybe after ESPN ranked him seventh among the best players in the league that he may have had a hidden agenda coming into last season, as he suggested after scoring 48 on Nash's Suns in January?

Meanwhile, Nash does the little things it takes to succeed, like calling Kobe Bryant and discussing his arrival in LA before the trade became official so there isn't any threat of toe-stepping.

Pretty smart huh?

Which leads us to the second mistake that was made when Nash arrived to LA.

The question that followed him, as is always the case in a blockbuster move, was whether his addition was the home run ball that would put the Lakers back over the top?


The real question is whether his addition as a facilitator will be more beneficial for the Lakers on the court or off it, because there is absolutely no reason why Dwight Howard shouldn't be a member of the Los Angeles Lakers by now.

Allegedly, Howard did once plan to come to the Lakers, but a phone call between him and Kobe about his offensive role with the team soured him on following through with that plan.

Once again, the Lakers' savior seems to be at the heart of the team's problems.

But maybe Nash can sway Kobe and Howard to put their egos aside the same way he did when he called Kobe before coming to LA. Because, like it or not, Kobe needs a Dwight Howard at this stage of his career just as much as Shaq once needed a Kobe Bryant back in the day.

And wouldn't it be a fitting ending that the regime change the Lakers so badly need at this point saw Kobe hand the keys of the franchise over to a "Superman" center.

Only, it will probably take Nash's leadership to make it happen.