If the Lakers are going to win the 2013 NBA title they very well may have to get past both the San Antonio Spurs and Oklahoma City Thunder.
Dwight Howard could be the key in getting past the Spurs and Thunder by shutting down their explosive point guards near the rim.
Since Dwight Howard joined the Orlando Magic in 2004-2005 he has had a major impact containing Parker and Westbrook from within five feet of the hoop. With data taken from Pro-Basketball-Referene.com, here is the summary:
FG% on Shots Within Five Feet Since 2004-2005
When facing Dwight Howard and the Orlando Magic, Tony Parker saw his FG% fall six points when shooting from within five feet of the rim. Russell Westbrook's FG% fell four points against the Magic.
Much of this significant decrease in Parker and Westbrook's ability to score near the rim against the Orlando Magic would logically be attributed to Dwight Howard's defensive presence.
The Steve Nash - Dwight Howard Partnership
The implications of this are huge for the Lakers.
While Steve Nash will greatly benefit the Lakers' offense with this playmaking, penetration, and killer jump shot, Nash can be a defensive liability when matched up against younger, more explosive point guards.
The Lakers will likely face the Spurs and/or the Thunder in meaningful regular season games and in the playoffs, and Dwight Howard's play against their aggressive point guards will be vital.
Stopping PG's Key to a Lakers' Title
In the 2012 playoffs the Lakers point guards were exposed in the first round by the Denver Nuggets' Andre Miller and Ty Lawson. The Lakers escaped with a 4-3 series win.
In the second round the Lakers were obliterated by the Thunder's Russell Westbrook.
Fortunately for Lakers fans like me, Dwight Howard's presence will significantly reduce the effectiveness of the west's elite point guards like Tony Parker and Russell Westbrook around the rim.
Dwight Howard will help in covering up Steve Nash's defensive flaws, and the new Nash-Howard duo may very well power the Lakers to an NBA title in 2013.
Andrew Sweat is a die-hard Lakers fan. For more from this author, visit Andrew's archive or check these out articles: