Purple and Gold Pressure Cooker: Which Laker Faces Highest Expectations?
Lakers Nation recently asked their loyal fans on Facebook which Laker is facing the most pressure next season: Mike Brown, Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, Dwight Howard or Steve Nash.
After the acquisitions of Nash and Howard, the Lakers are facing “championship or bust” pressure next season. Aside from the pressure the Lakers will be facing as a group next year, each member of the team’s big four (and Coach Brown) will be facing their own unique pressure. Below, I have analyzed the pressure facing Kobe, Pau, Dwight, Nash and Mike Brown, revealed the results of the poll and broken down the fans’ most popular answer.
Let’s take a look at the backcourt, first.
Steve Nash: Fortunately for Steve Nash, he could likely go all of next season without taking a shot and not feel an ounce of pressure. Even at the age of 38, Nash was second in the league in assists per game last season, playing with an underwhelming supporting cast in Phoenix. Now, Nash has a plethora of weapons at his disposal to keep his assist numbers among the best in the league. Having such a lethal distributor, and capable shooter for that matter, should alleviate some of the pressure Kobe has felt in recent seasons to produce offense for the Lakers.
The only pressure Nash may feel next season is getting accustomed to sharing a backcourt with Kobe. This is not to say they won’t get along, but Nash has never played with an alpha dog like Bryant.
Kobe Bryant: With the decorated career Kobe Bryant has had, he is exempt from feeling any kind of real pressure, unless of course it’s self-imposed. After all, there is no player in the league who pushes himself more than the Black Mamba.
The only area in which Kobe could potentially face pressure next season is keeping everything under control, in the rare event of an internal blowup. Let’s pretend there comes a point next season when the team starts throwing Mike Brown, or one another, under the bus next. This is when Kobe needs to play cool, calm and collective and be the voice of reason.
There were times last season when Kobe could have burned Brown through the media, but he didn’t. Don’t expect this trend to change. I would be shocked if Kobe reverted back to his days when he was eager to feud with Shaq.
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