Dwight Howard to Lakers: How Steve Nash and Kobe Bryant Will Impact D12

Oren FriedmanCorrespondent IIAugust 13, 2012

EL SEGUNDO, CA - AUGUST 10:  Dwight Howard speaks after being introduced to the media as the newest member of the Los Angeles Lakers during a news conference at the Toyota Sports Center on August 10, 2012 in El Segundo, California. The Lakers aquired Howard from Orlando Magic in a four-team trade. In addition Lakers wil receive Chris Duhon and Earl Clark from the Magic.  (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

With the Los Angeles Lakers' acquisition of Dwight Howard, the purple and gold are again one of the premiere teams in the NBA.

The Lakers’ super four of Steve Nash, Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Howard should dominate the court throughout the 2012-13 NBA season.

At just 26, Howard will gain a tremendous amount under the tutelage of Nash and Bryant.

Ultimately, the Lakers' Hall of Fame backcourt will make things easier for Howard, and help him elevate his game to the next level.

On the Court

Dwight Howard has never had teammates anywhere close to the caliber that he’ll have in Los Angeles.

For his entire career, Howard has been his team’s No. 1 option, despite his raw offensive game. While he enjoyed some brief success playing alongside Jameer Nelson and Hedo Turkoglu, the Orlando Magic failed to bring in teammates that could legitimately help Howard contend for a championship.

In Nash and Bryant, Howard has the chance to play with two of the best guards of all time. 

With Howard in the paint and Nash and Bryant on the wing, the offense should retain some of the stability that it lost during last season’s playoffs. 

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Nash’s career 8.6 APG should go up by giving Howard good looks under the basket.

Given the offensive threats on the Lakers, Howard might never have to take a single jump hook next season. 

The playmaking wizardry of Nash, in conjunction with the interior passing skills of Gasol, should result in easy buckets and dunks for Howard all day. 

The results will be incredible.

Howard should put up a shooting clip over 60 percent, and lead the NBA in offensive rebounds and second-chance points.

As the best center in the NBA, Howard will force opposing defenses to stay honest. This should alleviate some of the pressure on Kobe Bryant, as defenses won’t be able to bunch up on him near the elbow or on the baseline.

By giving Bryant more room to operate, the Lakers should consistently find their offensive mojo. 

At times, Mamba played too much hero ball for the Lakers last season.

Rather than pound the ball into Gasol or Andrew Bynum in the post, Bryant opted for contested fadeaways and other low-percentage shots. 

The result was as resounding in the loss column as it was in his statistics. 

As per Basketball-Reference.com, Bryant’s true shooting percentage dipped to 52.7 percent, a career low. 

With Howard on the court, Kobe's offensive game will produce more efficient scoring for the Lake Show.

Expect Bryant to feast on open mid-range jumpshots and drives to the basket, as the defense is forced to collapse on Howard and Gasol in the paint. 

Kobe has matured significantly since the last time he played with a big man as dominant as Dwight Howard. With a better understanding of the game, Howard will reap the benefits of a wiser, more crafty Bryant.

Championship Mentality

At this point in his career, Dwight Howard is not as consumed by championships as some of his peers. 

In his press conference with the Lakers, Howard rarely mentioned any title talk, preferring to discuss the move to Hollywood as a new chapter in his NBA career. 

Unlike Howard, LeBron James’ signing with the Miami Heat was dominated by ring talk to the point that it was mocked by critics at large. When Chris Paul joined the Clippers, he repeatedly talked about bringing a championship to L.A.’s other team. 

Bryant’s chase for that ever-elusive sixth ring will be contagious among the Lakers’ new additions.

If Steve Nash could go from Phoenix to the Suns’ most bitter rival in pursuit of a championship, then Howard should be able to put his ego aside and mature quickly in L.A. 

For the first time in his career, Howard can be a student of the game. 

Nash and Bryant will be the team’s locker room leaders, allowing Howard to get comfortable in his new environment. 

It should also help that Bryant's and Nash’s personalities are so different.

Kobe is Jordan-esque in his competitiveness, doing whatever it takes to beat his opponent. If it seems like Bryant is never joking around, it’s because he’s all business on and off the court. 

On the other hand, Nash is more laid back away from the gym—a proven winner with some of the most personable qualities in the league.

The two-time MVP’s nascent Meathawk production company is an indication of some of Nash’s other interests. The point guard's parodies will be welcomed by Howard, and provide for some psychological balance to Bryant’s ultra-serious attitude.

Simply, the styles of Nash and Bryant are the perfect yin-and-yang complement to allow for Howard to cultivate a winning identity in the NBA.

There are few better teachers or winners in the game than Nash and Bryant, and the duo’s impact on D12 will be invaluable for the young center.

Helping Howard chase his first ring shouldn’t hurt either.

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