HoopsHype.com Season Previews

Dwight Howard - US Presswire

2012/13 SEASON ROSTER
NUM
PLAYER
POS
HT
C
7-1
5
G
6-3
24
G
6-6
3
F
6-10
25
G
6-1
3
F
6-9
16
F
7-0
0
G
6-3
27
F
6-10
12
C
6-11
4
F
6-9
G
6-3
20
G
6-4
1
G
6-4
10
G
6-3
50
C
7-0
15
F
6-7

Los Angeles Lakers        

ADDITIONS:
Ronnie Aguilar (Bakersfield Jam), Earl Clark (Orlando), Chris Duhon (Orlando), Dwight Howard (Orlando), Antawn Jamison (Cleveland), Darius Johnson-Odom (Marquette), Jodie Meeks (Philadelphia), Steve Nash (Phoenix) and Robert Sacre (Gonzaga).

SUBTRACTIONS:
Matt Barnes (LA Clippers), Andrew Bynum (Philadelphia), Christian Eyenga, Josh McRoberts (Orlando), Troy Murphy and Ramon Sessions (Charlotte).

STRENGTHS:
Talent level is otherworldly ... Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard may be the best players at their positions ... Pau Gasol and Steve Nash are Top 5 at theirs ... Gasol and Howard should be a devastating duo in the paint ... Way too much size and skill for most teams ... Points around the basket will be hard to come by against that couple ... Three-point shooting, a weakness last year, will be greatly improved with the addition of Nash and Jodie Meeks ... Besides, there will be plenty of open shots to go around considering Nash runs the offense and Howard, Gasol and Bryant draw great attention ... Great frontcourt backups in Antawn Jamison and Jordan Hill ... L.A. has many veteran players used to dealing with pressure situations ... They should be one of the best crunch time teams in the league.

WEAKNESSES:
Age ... Questions about durability ... Howard comes off a serious injury ... Will he be fully recovered this season? ... Nash, Bryant and Gasol take good care of their bodies, but they are all in their 30's and Father Time could come calling ... The Lakers will have a hard time competing with elite squads like Oklahoma City and Miami in terms of athleticism ... Metta World Peace is not the lock-down defender he once was ... Backcourt depth is average at best ... Lots of stars and former stars in the locker room, so Mike Brown will have to do a fine ego-massaging job.

PROJECTION:
1st in the Pacific Division / 2nd in the Western Conference

PROJECTED STARTERS
PG: Steve Nash Allen Iverson SG: Kobe Bryant Andrei Kirilenko SF: Metta World Peace
One of the best point guards in NBA history. Unparalleled combination of passing and shooting skills. Doesn't play much defense. Likely to remain king of the team even with all the new additions. Incredibly skilled. A winner. A little selfish. Cut down the antics (for the most part). Not as crazy, but not as tough as a defender as he used to. Scoring gets worse every year.
Yi Jianlian PF: Pau Gasol C: Dwight Howard Sixth: Antawn Jamison
Huge body and All-Star talent. Average defender. More likely to defer to new teammates than Kobe Bryant. Best center in the game. Way too physical for most big men. Has added some polish to his offensive game over the years. Jamison is a clear candidate for Sixth Man of the Year if he can stay effective with a smaller amount of shots per game.