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Andrew Wild

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L.A. Re-rising

Posted: 07/12/2012 9:24 am

Two first-round picks and two second-round picks for a 38-year-old who beat out your star for two MVP's he's still bitter about? Welcome to Hollywood.

Don't get me wrong, I'm excited about having the Lakers' first true point guard since I was born, but it doesn't all check out. Mike Brown is an offensively-minded coach. Kobe is essentially the offensive coordinator. And Nash has been running Phoenix by himself for half a decade. Gasol is one of the best passing big men in the league. And Bynum is an extremely unstable center on the rise. So is this the NBA equivalent of the Manhattan Project, or will too many cooks spoil the broth? The really exciting part of this involves the big men. Gasol hasn't quite fit into the Lakers offense the past two years, and at least part of Bynum's unhappiness has been that when Kobe feels like it, he doesn't see the ball on offense at all. Bringing in Nash, who has made Marcin Gortat and Jared Dudley look like actual scorers, will certainly help them fit in. But where does that leave Kobe? Nash will need the ball in his hands at the top of the key to make things happen and Bynum needs the ball so he doesn't implode again. Having three people who don't do much off the ball isn't a key to success. To make the Lakers succeed Kobe may have to become (gasp) a second option.

Can Kobe handle not being the man? Kobe loves his big men and at points tried to facilitate them, but just as quickly he'd shoot the ball five times in a row without a look to the post. Kobe's got an ego, I think deservedly, as he is an all-time great, but certainly an ego. He is one of the greatest players, and certainly closers, of our generation and a lot of his powers come from his... er... self-confidence. Part of me worries that once he acknowledges himself as a second option he'll lose his swagger on the court. But if the Lakers want to succeed with this team, Kobe will have to transition. Nash will make it easier, but things are going to be rough at the start.

But let's be real, Nash can't possibly hurt the Lakers. They're going to be better. It's certain. Nash adds so many things -- a playmaker, a shooter, speed -- but trading four draft picks makes it worrisome. What's left for the Lakers is to get someone for the bench. Anyone. Please. Our starting five has an average age of 32, we can't possibly rely on them for 48 minutes a game. Shannon Brown is a free agent again, Elton Brand is getting released, Nate Robinson is a free agent, as is Michael Redd. We need some skilled players who can carry our team for a few minutes at a time with their energy. It doesn't matter how well Nash fits into our system, we're too old to beat young teams like the Thunder and Heat with only five true players. If we can find even an average bench, things will look up again for the Lakers. The Lakers brass has shown they're committed to winning right now, and Nash is only part of the solution.

 
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