While it is easy for Los Angeles Lakers fans like me to already start talking about a 2013 NBA title, there is one history lesson we need to remember:
The disaster of the 2011 Miami Heat.
Using the Heat as an example Nash said "it's really hard your first year," and "we've got our hands full" as the Lakers try to build chemistry. Here is my analysis of the two biggest chemistry issues facing the Lakers in 2013:
Can Kobe Bryant Play with a True Point Guard?
Kobe Bryant has never shared the ball with a true point guard.
Since Kobe became a starter in 1999 the only other Lakers not named Kobe to average at least 5.0 assists per game were Lamar Odom (5.5), Gary Payton (5.5), and 2012 mid-season rental Ramon Sessions (6.2 in 23 games.) Former point guard Derek Fisher never averaged more than 4.4 APG during his 12-plus seasons with the Lakers.
Kobe will need to learn to let Steve Nash run the offense, a potentially huge change for a shoot-first player with a scorer's mentality.
Can Dwight Howard Share the Post?
Dwight Howard had all the room in the world to post up with the Orlando Magic, never sharing the post with a legitimate big man. This will change with Pau Gasol also needing the block at times.
During Dwight Howard's eight seasons in Orlando only five forwards or centers averaged double figures, and none of them were post players.
Grant Hill, Hedo Turkoglu, and Brandon Bass were wing players. Rashard Lewis and Ryan Anderson preferred to float to the perimeter to jack up an insane number of 3-pointers. None of these players competed for the ball in the post with Dwight Howard.
Howard will need to learn to share the block with Pau Gasol in Los Angeles. While the Lakers will likely run a lot of pick-and-rolls to prevent both Howard and Gasol being in the post at the same time, they will bump into each other down low.
When both Howard and Gasol are posting up at the same time it will be a completely new experience for Dwight Howard.
How Will It Work?
Kobe will adapt well to sharing the ball with Steve Nash. Kobe's only goal is surpassing Michael Jordan's six NBA titles. He knows that by letting Nash operate the offense will flow more smoothly while also reducing the wear-and-tear on his body, extending his career for more title runs.
Kobe will share. Mark my words.
I also think Dwight Howard will be comfortable sharing the post with Pau Gasol. While Howard can score he is not a natural offensive player and his post moves are not refined. Gasol's presence will reduce double-teams on Howard in the post and free Dwight up for offensive put-backs on the weak side.
Dwight Howard will thrive in Los Angeles.
Steve Nash said the Lakers "have their hands full" as they learn to work together.
With all due respect, Steve, I think it is the Lakers' opponents who will have their hands full next year.
Andrew Sweat is a die-hard Lakers fan. For more from this author, visit Andrew's archive or check these out articles:
- Sports & Recreation
- Kobe Bryant
- Los Angeles Lakers
- Steve Nash
- Dwight Howard
- Miami Heat
- Pau Gasol