With the Lakers completing a sign-and-trade with Phoenix Suns point guard Steve Nash, they have now immediately launched themselves into contenders for the NBA championship.
What does Steve Nash do for the Lakers?
With the addition of Nash, the Lakers improve in so many ways. For one, he will stretch the defense with his three point shooting while making it easier on Kobe, Pau, and Bynum (or Howard?). Kobe won’t have to play as much one on one and Pau and Bynum can run pick and rolls and get the ball in positions to score which they haven’t been able to do in the past. Nash has never played with seven footers with Pau and Bynum’s skill level so this trade benefits both the big men and Nash. Since Kobe was drafted in 1996 no Lakers point guard has averaged more than 8.5 assists per season. Steve Nash has averaged over 8.5 assists for the past 9 seasons and even at 37 years old last year he averaged over 11 assists.
Can Nash and Kobe put the past aside and play together?
Although they Nash and Kobe have had their battles over the years, both men are extremely intelligent basketball players and both have a winner’s mentality. They were both drafted in 1996 and are part of the few NBA players still competing at a high level. Over the years, basically ever since Shaq left, Kobe has had to play one on one and make jump shots over two and sometimes three defenders. Although Kobe makes it look easy, this takes its toll on his 33 year old body. He has been in the league for 16 seasons and the easier Steve Nash can make it for him, the better. Kobe will be freed up for easier jump shots and if defenders choose to double him Nash can knock down the three to make the defense pay. As long as Nash can forget this the Lakers will be fine. Kobe can smell another title.
Are the Lakers favorites to win the NBA title?
They may not be the favorites but they are definitely in the top three. After the way Miami played in the Finals I think it’s tough not to call them the favorites especially with the addition of Ray Allen but the Lakers are right there with them and the Thunder for favorites to win the whole thing. The Thunder still have a young athletic team but with the addition of Nash, the Lakers now have a consistent shooter on the perimeter who can create for the team unlike Fisher or Sessions. Sessions looked scared in the playoffs against the more athletic and all together more talented Russell Westbrook, but Nash won’t back down from anyone.
Will Nash hurt the Lakers on defense?
He isn’t a better defender than Sessions or Fisher but he also isn’t worse. Sure he’s old and a little slower than he used to be but they didn’t bring him in to be the defensive stopper against Westbrook, Lawson, and all the quick Western Conference guards. They brought him in to run the offense and make it easier on an aging Kobe Bryant.
Did the Lakers give up too much for a 38 year old?
On paper, 4 draft picks looks like a lot for a man who will be retiring in 3 or 4 years but the thing you have to remember is none of those draft picks would have been lottery picks, or even in the top 20. For a team like the Lakers that is always in the playoffs (deep in the playoffs at that) those picks would have been late first round picks who wouldn’t have contributed much to a team that has 4 of its starting 5 basically set in stone for the next 3 or 4 years.
Is $27 million over 3 years too much money?
Nash has had 3 seasons of 800+ assists and 150 3-pointers made since turning 30 years old. No player at any age has ever done that. There’s your answer right there. He is a 2-time MVP who is arguably one of the best point guards of all time and is going to turn your entire franchise around. No amount of money is too much.
How Steve Nash Became A Laker
Once again Mitch Kupchak and the Los Angeles Lakers find a way to be the talk of the NBA and become title contenders with one move. Watch out for this team next year.
All in all I think it’s a match made in heaven. It’s about time the best backcourt in the NBA resides in Los Angeles.