Here at Blue Man Hoop, we’re gearing up for the 2012-13 season by looking around the NBA to see how each team matches up with the Golden State Warriors. We’ll give you an overview of each opponent, a matchup or stat to watch and a measure of just how big a threat each opposing squad represents for the Dubs. Be sure to check out the other previews we’ve done so far on Blue Man Hoop: Atlanta Hawks, Boston Celtics, Brooklyn Nets, Charlotte Bobcats, Chicago Bulls, Cleveland Cavaliers, Dallas Mavericks, Denver Nuggets, Detroit Pistons, Houston Rockets, Indiana Pacers, L.A. Clippers.
L.A. Lakers Overview
What can you say about the Lakers that hasn’t already been plastered all over every national news outlet? Did you hear they traded for Steve Nash? Oh, you did? Well, what about how they won the Dwight Howard Sweepstakes? That, too, huh?
Just about everyone has Kobe and Co. inked into one of the Western Conference’s top two spots, right up there with last year’s Conference champs, OKC. So how about we go a little contrarian for this preview?
Look, there’s no question the Lakers’ starting five of Nash, Bryant, the artist formerly known as Ron Artest, Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard is one of the scariest on-paper groups the league has ever seen. But there are real issues with this team.
First of all, Steve Nash is already 38 years old and will turn 39 in the middle of the 2012-13 season. Can the aging wonder really continue to avoid injury and decline, especially without the Suns’ renowned training staff?
And as someone really smart and handsome wrote:
The same question applies to Kobe Bryant, who’s actually played even more career games than Nash. How long can he sustain his skills? And the biggest question of all: How can anyone be sure that this collection of stars will actually be able play together as a team? If everything works out, the Lakers can absolutely win a championship. But there are tons of fragile knees, backs and egos that could cause the whole thing to implode.
That’s pretty well said, if I do say so myself.
Oh, and hey, Dwight Howard will be back sometime around who-knows-when, and might not be the same guy after back surgery.
The Lakers have a great starting five, a decent scorer in Antawn Jamison off the bench and a HUGE number of question marks. I’m not sold that they’ll hold up over a full season.
Just because it’s interesting to think about, let’s look at the matchup of Kobe and Nash. Sure, they’re teammates, but how they work together will matter more than any Curry vs. Nash or Bogut vs. Howard analysis.
The fact is that Nash is one of the NBA’s most efficient players…ever. He needs the ball in his hands all the time to be effective because he’s a historically great shooter and makes terrific decisions. How exactly will that work with Bryant—one of the NBA’s all-time usage rate kings—in the same back court?
Apparently, the Princeton offense and all its quick passes and back-cuts is the answer. But I’m not buying it. Nash should have the ball all the time if the Lakers want to maximize his value, and that’s just not going to work for Kobe. It’ll be fascinating to see how this “matchup” plays out.
Threat Level: 8/10
That’s right, I think the Lakers are less of a threat than the Clippers. There are just too many ways the whole thing could go badly in Lakerland. The roster has no depth and they’re depending on players who are either old or injured to carry them. From a probability standpoint, it’s highly unlikely that all four of the Lakers’ superstars make it through the season unscathed.
Feel free to call me an idiot if they win 73 games this year.