While I’m still a bit skeptical about the Lakers, there is no denying that on paper, they are scintillating. They added one of the best pick and roll point guards and THE best roll man to their roster, brought in Eddie Jordan to provide movement and spacing, and still have the best scoring guard in the league.
It was nothing less than larceny what Mitch Kupchak pulled off with a trade that got them Dwight Howard without having to give up Pau Gasol. The Lakers are stacked across the board, and are only a little thin at the point guard position. While they are built to beat the Heat, there is still the little detail of overcoming the Oklahoma City Thunder and Kevin Durant.
Some of the potential plays on offenses that excite me is pinch post with Nash on top and Kobe in the high post. That should be a guaranteed open shot every time. So long as Nash is dribbling, anyone screening for him should make the defense gravely concerned. With the kind of cutting the Princeton provides (so long as the Lakers execute it, ahem, Kobe), the opponents defense will be in a crucible. Whomever they help off of will lead to open shots for some of the best all around offensive players in the league.
Expect Pau Gasol to have a resurgence this year, setting back screens and flaring out for high post jump shots, as well as an occasional post up when Dwight needs a rest. Kobe can really use the movement to his advantage to gain very deep post position which would make him virtually unstoppable.
If the offensive capabilities weren’t enough, throw in the fact that Dwight is by far the best defensive center in the league, and the other Lakers can gamble a lot more, knowing Howard will cover for them. So no matter that Nash has trouble keeping the good point guards out of the lane (few guards are good at this), Dwight can erase or alter many of those and turn those shots into fastbreaks for the Lakers.
Being in Los Angeles, the Lakers face the kind of championship pressure that few other markets face. The roster is full of veteran experience – guys who know how to get the job done in the face of adversity. The breakdown was just a sliver of possibility as greatness is already being anointed on them. I am not sure I’m ready to be a fan of the Lakers just yet, but I’m certainly waiting with anticipation of what could be.