Believe it or not, the NBA's regular season is six weeks away. To get you ready, Crossover Chronicles will be profiling a team each day for the next six weeks. This week is the Pacific Division. Today is the Los Angeles Lakers.
2011-12 Record: 41-25, lost second round
Key Losses: Andrew Bynum (traded to Philadelphia), Ramon Sessions (signed with Charlotte), Matt Barnes (signed with L.A. Clippers)
Key Acquisitions: Dwight Howard (traded from Orlando), Steve Nash (signed from Phoenix), Antawn Jamison (signed from Cleveland)
|Steve Nash||Kobe Bryant||Metta World Peace||Pau Gasol||Dwight Howard|
|Steve Blake||Andrew Goudelock||Devin Ebanks||Antawn Jamison||Jordan Hill|
|Chris Duhon||Jodie Meeks||Earl Clark|
That starting lineup is pretty darn good. Acquiring Steve Nash and Dwight Howard to a lineup that already featured Pau Gasol and Kobe Bryant just creates a whole bunch of possibilities. On paper, there may not be a better foursome in any starting lineup. Think about it. Kobe Bryant is Kobe Bryant. Pau Gasol is one of the best passing big men in the league. Dwight Howard is a three-time Defensive Player of the Year. And Steve Nash is a two-time MVP.
The question of course is whether they can all mesh together well. It took LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh lots of time to really mesh and reach a championship level. Even at the end of the first year and into last season, there were plenty of questions about the Heat.
The Lakers will have those questions too. But they should win plenty of games on talent alone.
After those big four names, the Lakers do not have a whole lot. Metta World Peace and Antawn Jamison are solid players, but are aging veterans who are not as good as they once were. And what happens to the Lakers should one of those big four face injury? After all, Dwight Howard is coming off of back surgery and will not be ready for the beginning of training camp. Steve Nash and Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol are not getting any younger either.
So what happens if one player has to miss extended time? What happens if a player gets dinged up in the postseason?
The Lakers have the talent to make up for it in the starting lineup, but that bench leaves a lot to be asking for. Jamison is going to have to carry the load on the second unit. He is not quite the player he used to be and is inefficient when asked to carry the load. This Lakers team will rely on the starters a lot.
The Lakers might be very interested in the upcoming election. Because they are going to get hit hard by taxes.
Los Angeles' luxury tax payments this year will be very steep. And this is the last year of the one-for-one tax. Next year, the cost will get even steeper to maintain this roster. While the Lakers might have a super talented starting lineup, it is going to become very very costly.
That means winning a championship will be vitally important this year or next. Even with new money coming in through a local TV deal, there may be pressure to reduce costs especially if the golden trophy is not back in Los Angeles.
Have thoughts or predictions on the Lakers? Leave them in the comments below or drop us a line @CrossoverNBA on Twitter or join the discussion by hashtagging #LakersDay. We will be back with a closer look at the Lakers throughout the day.