Lakers Shift Balance of Power in the West
The Golden State Warriors are a young up and coming team that has a chance to potentially make the playoffs next season thanks in large part to their mix of young players as well as the veterans that are on board.
The young nucleus promises to be exciting and it may even on a few occasions provide a few spectacular shootouts.
Mind you, the Western Conference is shaping up to be an entirely different animal with the moves made by its teams.
The Dallas Mavericks were hoping to acquire Deron Williams and Dwight Howard this summer, but instead had to settle for Elton Brand, OJ Mayo, Chris Kaman, Darren Collison and Dahntay Jones.
The reigning Western Conference champs kept the team intact with the hope that a finals loss will help them grow and become a better team capable of taking out its opponent should they get back to the NBA Finals once again thanks to Kevin Durant’s brilliant play.
The San Antonio Spurs took the same route as OKC and left their roster intact given that they came two wins away from making the championship round.
The Los Angeles Clippers acquired a solid perimeter defender in Grant Hill, a backup big man in Ronny Turiaf, acquired Lamar Odom, re-signed Chauncey Billups and signed sixth man bomber Jamal Crawford.
The Minnesota Timberwolves signed Brandon Roy, Andrei Kirilenko and Greg Stiesma to help bolster their team with the hope of contending for a playoff berth.
The Golden State Warriors re-signed Brandon Rush, acquired Jarrett Jack via trade and signed Carl Landry to be their backup big man.
There has been a lot of turnover in the Western Conference so far this offseason and yet, no team has made bigger and more important moves in the conference than the Los Angeles Lakers.
They have gone from being a playoff contender to the overall favorite to win the 2013 NBA championship with their new nucleus.
The purple and gold will now be pairing up Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol with Dwight Howard, Steve Nash and Antawn Jamison.
This may sound somewhat hyperbolic but consider this: the Lakers will have arguably the best passer of this past decade, the best scorer of his generation and the best defensive player since Ben Wallace, who also happens to be 20-point scorer.
The Los Angeles Lakers have won the arms race and now the rest of the league is suddenly playing catch up.
The 2012-13 version of the Lakers will be built to run through the regular season given their immense talent, defensive potential as well as the fact that the roster is built to survive injuries — given the durability of Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard — for short and medium stretches.
There is obviously a good chance that the team will get off to a rocky start considering the talent that Mike Brown has to manage and thus it could largely benefit the team to start off the season looking for transition opportunities until they fine tune the offense and understand what they want to accomplish every trip down the floor (hint: it should be to get the ball inside).
The Los Angeles Lakers will not only be a talented squad that will make noise throughout the course of the season, but they will also be perhaps the most fascinating basketball experiment in recent memory. Kobe Bryant will be blessed with a multitude of options to help him out on the offensive end but unlike during the 2003-04 season, it won’t be in the triangle offense.
Consequently, Bryant may well have to adjust his game to allow his teammates to get some touches at his expense. Indeed, the Mamba may have to become a player that scores in the high teens or low 20s for this Lakers team to be successful and although many assume that he will relinquish some of his control of the offense, its far easier said than done.
Indeed, Antawn Jamison, Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard will need their fair share of possessions in order to get going and put up points on the board while Steve Nash will need to have the ball in his hands to facilitate the offense and be the playmaker he has been for most of his career.
The 2012-13 Los Angeles Lakers promise to be both interesting and entertaining, but make no mistake, the west goes through them.
The rest of the west in on the clock…
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