Now that the major off season moves have been made, Paul and I will take a closer look into some of the more interesting (or potentially bawful) franchises. What better team to get things rolling with, than the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Dwightmare has finally come to an end. Well, except for fans of the Orlando Magic. By now I’m sure most of you are well aware of the moving parts involved, so I won’t get too deep into the specifics for this piece. But I will say this. This trade will ensure the Magic will continue to be used as a farm system for Hall of Fame Centers to be harvested by the Lakers. The Magic suck themselves into the number 1 pick. They draft Nerlens Noel. He grows into an All Star and the best center in the NBA. Once he hits his prime (and free agency) he’ll bolt for Los Angeles. There he’ll go on to win two or three championships. No one will be surprised except for Magic season ticket holders. The Magic might want to consider taking Shabazz Muhammad just to break the cycle. We just witnessed three teams have their way with Orlando. I don’t want to type what this trade looks like, but I’ll just say it rhymes with “rang gape”. (Too harsh?)

smug stern
Meanwhile, this guy chose to look the other way.

Alright, back to the Lakers…On paper they look like the best team in the Western Conference and should have no problems advancing to the Finals. Simply having Dwight and Gasol in the post makes you unstoppable to most teams in the Association. Throw in Nash at point, Kobe and Metta on the wings, and Jamison doing his best Vinnie Johnson impersonation and this is easily a championship contender. It seems as if the Magic have thrown the perfect lob to the Lakers and now all they have to do is finish. However, a few of the things that could potentially derail this Laker train include, but are not limited to,

Dwight’s back being in worse shape than expected.

Nash’s back being in worse shape than expected.

Kobe continuing his quest to become T-Mac vol 2.

Mike Brown.

Let’s keep the defense on their toes. This time, I want you to hand it off to Dwight and let him throw the lob to Nash.

All of those things considered, I feel this is the best team in the West. I know that Nash will be 39 when the playoffs start, however, his job should be much easier. Rather than being one of the first scoring options like last season, he’ll likely be the 4th option this year depending on the lineup. And as for defense, Dwight will ensure that anyone who wonders into the paint will have to dramatically change their shot. Also, if Kobe continues his shooting barrage from last year (which I’m sure he will) they now have a center that’s more than happy to chase down all those misses. Where Bynum would mail in performances, I expect Howard to thrive under the big lights. I mean you could double team him, but that leaves Kobe, Pau, Nash or at times Metta. As much as I hate to say it…this starting five it almost too good.

dwight lakers
Ugh, I just threw up in my mouth a little bit.

 I’m hearing that Dwight may not be back in the lineup until January or February at the latest because of his back surgery. That could delay the impending doom that’s in place for rest of the league. With the recent signing of Antwan Jamison, the Lakers can start the season with Nash, Kobe, Metta, Jamison, and Gasol. Not the greatest of lineups, but still very solid. If I were a Laker fan, one of my concerns would be the bench. The Lakers managed to resign Jordan Hill who gave them solid contributions off the bench last year. They also picked up free agent Jodie Meeks on the cheap. Other than that, things are looking pretty thin until Dwight can make his way back. Last season the Lakers were ranked 13th in defensive efficiency. Nash and Jamison starting won’t improve those numbers. Because of this, I predict the Lakers will finish 2nd in the Conference with a final record of 58-24.
Anonymous Anonymous said...
I just hate that smiling asshole so much. Wish they would have shipped him to the Bobcats or something.

Anonymous JJ said...
I don't know what disgusts me more. Dwight in Lakers jersey or Nash in Lakers jersey.

Assuming Dwight comes back in full health, I know Lakers look amazing. But, I predict chemistry issues and no championship. I just can't imagine Dwight playing 2nd fiddle to Kobe.

And as most people are aware, Dwight saga isn't over yet. It starts all over again next year. Yay!

Blogger Wormboy said...
Way to go on the Dwightmare coverage, Jason! Regular posts from Basketbawful make my dark cynical life, erm..., more dark and cynical? But that's good!

And it's Dwightmare II: Hollywood Boulevard. Mike Brown is such a offensive train wreck that I bet LeBron was laughing his ass off with all of the championship talk. How can Brown possibly run the sophisticated offense needed to maximize the potential of all of these guys? How can he manage the Kobe chemistry? he can't take the Vinny del Negro approach and let Chris Paul do it. Maybe Nash.

An integral part of this run is going to be Kobe becoming a facilitator rather than a scorer. Can he cede the limelight when the only thing that gives him an erection any more is the thought of the Lakers scoring record? And even then he needs to cede to Nash as #1 facilitator, so Kobe is #2. Not sure I can see it. Not in his DNA.

On the plus side, we saw in the Olympics what Gasol can do to a "small ball" team that is "better than the 1992 Dream Team." Ahem. A 7 point win over the Spaniards, "best team ever?" Let's put that shit to rest, OK?

Either the Gasols were the most emphatic "no" possible to the notions of the 2012 team being close to the 1992 team, or it is a resounding endorsement of well the Gasol brothers play when recipients of good ball movement. I promise to compartmentalize my cheering for the Lakers only to plays involving Nash feeding Gasol. Ugh, did I just say I'd cheer for the Lakers? I feel violated.

And I'm not sure I buy the Perk argument. Perk slowed Dwightmare when R2D12 was the only legit scoring option on the team, and the occasional perimeter defender could sag in to stab at the ball. What do defenses do now? This was probably the best thing ever for Dee-Wight Howard. The pressure is off of him, and he can play his game based on supernatural physical gifts without substantial technical gifts or a work ethic beyond weight lifting to make them happen. So, do the Lakers import Patrick Ewing to teach Dwightly Doorite how to continue to be 2nd or third best team in the league? Or maybe they import Hakeem Olajuwon. The problem is that I can see Dream saying, "This guy, he don't work hard. All he wants is to lift weights. And then he doesn't lift with his legs!"

Blogger Miles Zurawell said...
I find it very odd that the Magic wouldn't be more inclined to trade with the Rockets rather than this debacle, considering they would likely get better picks and young players to build off of, as well as riding themselves of turrible contracts in Turdglue or Babyface Davis.

Instead they get Affalo, Harrington, a slew of picks that will be late 1st rounders and keep the bad contracts (other than Richardson). It's pretty clear that the Magic avoided getting a good veteran player(s) (Either Bynum or Gasol) so that they can REALLY tank and score in the draft with their own picks. Speaking of which, does anyone know if they even own their picks in the next few years or did they trade them away in their various bad moves to try and appease Dwight?

They clearly think they can be the next OKC. Chances of that are slim to none.

Anonymous cantf33lmyface said...
The comment under the Mike Brown pic is classic man good 1!

Blogger Jason said...
I cannot figure for the life of me, what Orlando was thinking. It seems they could have demanded either Bynum or Gasol, and simply flipped them to Houston in exchange for all their young guys who are on rookie salaries. Is it possible to hire and fire a Gm in the same summer?

Anonymous JJ said...
Jason, I agree with you. All I've been thinking was THIS is what Magic was holding out for? THIS is why they rejected (far better) offers from Nets and Houston? I know things happen during the deal that we don't know about. So, I assume Magic had a good reason for doing this. But, based on the outcome, I have to assume the reason was not basketball-related, and probably had something to do with bending over.

Anonymous Czernobog said...
@JJ Dwight has spent his career playing second fiddle to the likes of Rafer Alston, what makes you think he can't play second fiddle to Kobe.

There's no doubt he's become a primadonna, but let's not forget the Magic's part in this saga.

Blogger Miles Zurawell said...
On another note: this is going to be a terrible season for rockets fans. I guess their silver lining is that they at least have some interesting rookies to watch turn the ball over, play matador defense, and chuck up bad shots.

Anonymous JJ said...
Czernobog, that may have been true in the past, just like Howard used to be generally viewed as a "good guy". But, I think the events over the summer have clearly shown the true nature of beast that is now Dwight Howard. Yes, I agree Magic played a big part in that, especially by letting the saga drag out for so long. But, regardless of how he got there, Howard is a major prima donna now. And once your ego gets that big, it doesn't just disappear (remember Howard was starting to bitch about not being a bigger part of the offence in Orlando despite his limited offensive skills).

It could work if Kobe is more accommodating. But, Kobe I remember butted heads with Shaq, who actually had a good reason to be a prima donna. Shaq in his prime was an unstoppable force, far more impactful than Howard could ever be. So, I have no doubt Kobe will crush Howard's ego, or at least break up the team chemistry while trying. They'll all play "nice" in the beginning, but we'll see what happens...

Blogger Wormboy said...
@JJ: Mmm, I'm not sure. I've never thought Kobe was dumb, even though I loathe him. Kobe, too, was in his prime. And Shaq had shown up fat and out of shape two seasons running. Can you imagine how you'd feel if your co-star did that? Remember the arthritic big toe? I'm 95% sure that was gout from being fat, having a terrible diet, and getting dehydrated. A guy does have a right to be pissed when your teammate eats himself into an injury.

The most interesting thing about this is how Kobe changes his game to co-exist with Nash and Howard. Does he make the shift and get a 6th ring? Or does he prove himself to be so selfish that he irrevocably harms his legacy as a player? It's stuff like that that keeps me watching NBA hoops despite all the BS. I love the goat and redemption stories. I loved the Mavs winning in '11 with all of those guys getting rings. And I loved a-hole Mark Cuban sitting on his hands for a whole playoffs. Awesome. I loved Artest thanking his psychiatrist first thing. I love Gilbert Arenas pulling out a gun in the locker room. You can't script this shit.

Which returns me to the point: can Kobe change his stripes? Nashie get a ring? What kind of guy does Dwight become? A Pau renaissance? Artest gets most open corner three looks since since Bowen in '07?

Oh, has anybody heard about Grant Hill? What's up there?

Anonymous JJ said...
Wormboy, fair point. But, I'm pretty sure Kobe and Shaq wouldn't have gotten along even if Shaq didn't get all out of shape.

I never thought Kobe is stupid. But, he is full of ego. He often does things that he knows are not smart just because he feels like it. Look at the volume of shots he is still taking, not to mention what kind of shots many of those are. This guy isn't ready to turn over the ship to Howard. I guess it could work if Kobe and Howard mutually respect each other and stay out of each other's way. But, Howard is coming into Kobe's house. Is Kobe going to change himself for Howard? I don't see that happening unless Kobe finally accepts his own decline (hint: fat chance).

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Mitch: Hey Stern, tell me how my ass tastes!

hahahahaha so do people still think the pau gasol trade was lopsided?

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pretty sure ring number 6 gives kobe a far bigger boner than the all time scoring record. How long until someone else comes along and breaks that record? Kevin Durant? Probably.

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