In an attempt to improve their chances of success, the Los Angeles Lakers have added the talents of former Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard and former MVP point guard Steve Nash to their roster.
The Lakers have always been a threatening team, as evidenced by their 16 championship titles.
From the likes of Wilt Chamberlin, Kareem Abdul-Jaabar, Magic Johnson and Kobe Bryant, the team have never suffered from a lack of talent on their team.
“Basketball is the sport that depends on having an all-star roster the most; Getting the best to join your team gives you an advantage,” Kyle Parkinson, junior kinesiology major, said.
Although the Lakers have added some big names, there is natural force that the team cannot control that may impact their season: age.
There is only one starter for the 2012-2013 Lakers that is under the age of 30: Howard. This poses a problem because older players are more prone to injury and may not be able to keep up with quicker competition.
Besides age, another obstacle the Lakers will face is the team dynamic that is at stake.
Last season, Bryant ended with an average of 4.3 assists and 30 points per game while Nash finished with an average of 10.7 assists and 12.5 points per game. With Nash being a passer and Bryant being a shooter, their strengths will hopefully mesh, making a dynamic duo.
“I think Kobe (Bryant) is maturing as he gets older, and he knows that he doesn’t have much time left,” said Kenny Woolfolk, sophomore kinesiology major. “So I think Nash and Kobe (Bryant) will work well together, and Nash will put him in the right positions to get the ball where he needs to. At the end of the day, Bryant will still be closing out in the fourth quarter because that’s what he does, and he is pretty good at it.”
The Lakers will not only have two past MVPs as starting guards, but they will have Howard anchoring the team at center.
In the 2011-2012 season, he Howard the most rebounds in the league, having an average of 14.54 rebounds per game.
“Howard poses a small upgrade from Bynum because of his defense,” Parkinson said. “While Bynum had a much better free-throw percentage, I do think that Howard and Bryant will need time to get used to each other because they are both putting up big offensive numbers.”
Despite having a talented team coming into the new NBA season, the Lakers still have plenty of competition to worry about, including the Miami Heat, Oklahoma City Thunder and the retooled Los Angeles Clippers.|
“I would have to say the Lakers biggest competition this year is going to be the Miami Heat,” said Anastasia Helfer, junior sociology major. “They have just as many skilled stars as the Lakers, and they are coming off a high from winning the championship last year, so they are more pumped than ever.”