End of the Lakers
The End of the Lakers
The Lakers have a problem on their hands. They just traded away two first round and two second round picks for the aging Steve Nash. By doing so, they have sacrificed their future for the next three seasons. These three seasons will be catastrophic for the Lakers because Steve Nash and Kobe Bryant cannot co-exist and win championships in the short term, and the Lakers have given away their picks in the long term.
Nash’s most successful seasons came when he had a dominant big man and shooting role players on the wings. When Nash loses a big man, his team loses games. When he loses a wing player there is no noticeable change. Even dating back to his years in Dallas, in every season Nash’s team made the playoffs he had a All-Star big man on his team. The wing players did not make much of a difference. When Nash and the Suns lost Joe Johnson after the ’04-’05 season, the Suns made the playoffs four times and the Western Conference Finals twice in the next five seasons. When Nash lost Amare Stoudemire after the ’09-’10 season he was forced to play with out an All-Star big man. The Suns’ win percentage dropped from 66% to 49% in ’10-’11 and 50% in ’11-’12.
The reason why Nash’s success is so contingent on the big men around him is because of Nash’s ability to possess the ball and set up his front court teammates. His fellow wing players become spot up shooters; a role that can be easily be filled by multiple players in the NBA.
The Lakers have two All-Star big men in Gasol and Bynum. This should make a Nash led Lakers team lethal on offence. The problem is the Lakers will never be led by anyone other then Kobe Bryant. In order for Nash to be successful, he has to possess the ball for the majority of the shot clock. Kobe Bryant has always been the primary ball handler for the Lakers, and his ego will not allow him to give up the reigns to a new player.
Reports have stated that Kobe Bryant made a push to get Nash. In my opinion Kobe’s push for Nash was based off of Nash’s legendary three point shooting. The Lakers struggled this year to find someone besides Bryant to knock down a three but if Nash goes Los Angeles his nature will not allow him to become just a spot up three point shooter like I believe Bryant envisions him to be. This will cause a divide between those who want Nash to possess the ball, and those who want Kobe to. Coach Mike Brown is already on the hot seat and has had issues seeing eye to eye with Kobe in the past, and a potential Nash/Bryant divide could make the problem worse.
If the Nash/Bryant experiment fails, the future will be dim. The Lakers only had four players under 30 at the end of last season, and the only one that played major minutes was Bynum. The Lakers will only be able to add one first rounder and one second rounder in the next three years. The Lakers better pray that one of these two former MVP yields to the other, if not they will be in trouble for years to come.