Arguably the biggest move of the NBA off-season for the Los Angeles Lakers was landing superstar center Dwight Howard. Bringing in Howard was a great move to help secure the future of the franchise once Kobe Bryant decides to call it a career. Howard has yet to commit to the Lakers long-term, but it’s safe to say that if all goes well next season he’ll sign a five-year deal to stay in Los Angeles next summer.
Even though the acquisition of Howard turned a lot of heads around the NBA and convinced many that the Lakers are the team to beat heading into next season, the trade and signing of two-time NBA MVP Steve Nash may be the move that drastically improves the team.
Lakers legend James Worthy was recently interviewed by Mark Medina of the L.A. Times to talk about the team’s off-season moves and title chances next season. Worthy believes Nash is the most important piece to the puzzle for the Lakers:
“Steve Nash is the most important key to this team. He’s the point guard and the coach of the floor. But anytime you bring in new parts, it’s going to take some time for it to mix up. These guys have never played together and have never played under this new [Princeton offense] system.”
Acquiring Howard was no doubt a move that improves the team moving forward and may continue the Lakers’ success in the post-Kobe era. Adding Nash on the other hand is definitely an upgrade in an area that desperately needed some new blood.
The 38-year-old may not be a force defensively and may prove to be a liability against the quicker guards in the league like Russell Westbrook and Chris Paul, but his impact is unmatched on the offensive end of the floor and that may be the difference maker.
The concern heading into next season is whether or not Nash will have the same impact in Los Angeles as he did with the Phoenix Suns. With a new system, new surroundings and teammates, Nash will be in a totally different situation with an alpha male playing alongside him in the backcourt. The chemistry between Kobe and Nash will be crucial and an indicator of how successful this team will be over the next two to three years.
With the future Hall of Famers focused on winning championships before retiring in the near future, Nash and Kobe should fit together seamlessly in the Lakers backcourt as long as they buy into the new system and accept the sacrifices both player may have to make in order for the superstar pairing to work in Los Angeles.
In case you missed it – Steve Nash talks about joining the Lakers and working towards his first championship.
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