After signing both former point guard Steve Nash and former Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard, many believed this would put the Lakers back into better playoff contention and put them atop the Western Division alongside Oklahoma City and San Antonio.
But if you told any NBA fan that they'd be 12-14 at any point in the season, they probably wouldn't believe you. But so it is.
Having fired former coach Mike Brown after only five games, and having hired former Suns and Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni, who has been trying to install his offense since his hire, the Lakers have not been performing to their standards. Kobe Bryant is still putting up points, but it is not translating to wins; Dwight Howard continues to miss free throws, and D'Antoni's offense is not smooth yet.
But there is hope. Steve Nash will be returning from his knee injury very soon. And Laker nation hopes he can become their "Peyton Manning" upon his anticipated return.
Nash's ability as an on-court leader on the basketball court has made him one of the most primier point guards in the NBA over his 16-year career. The Lakers need that at the point guard position to help direct both Bryant and the rest of the Lakers. Nash has great shooting ability, especially from the three-point line, which will allow some pressure to be taken off of Bryant to score and open up the rest of the offense that D'Antoni likes to run. Nash has a 49.1 field goal shooting percentage, and shoots a very respectable 42.8% percentage from beyond the arc. Nash is a pure point guard in that he is a great passer and exibits excellent ball distribution, having amassed over 9,924 assists in his career, which averages to about 8.6 assists per game.
Currently, Bryant is the only significantly involved player at this point. And it's not winning games for them. Nash's ability could help open up the rest of the offense and get more of the players involved and put them in better positions to win games. Ball distribution is one of the many things that makes Nash one of the most complete point guards in the NBA, and it could help provide a spark to this struggling L.A. team.
Nash's return is even more anticipated because of the offense brought along by D'Antoni, who coached at Phoenix while Nash was there. His offense relies on more of a faster paced system that is heavily sustained by the pick and roll. What makes Nash so dangerous as a point guard is his ability to play the pick and roll, which he did successfully with the Dallas Mavericks with forward Dirk Nowitzski and again with D'Antoni in Phoenix with Shawn Marion and Amare Stoudemire.
This time around, he'll have to rely on the likes of Metta World Peace, Dwight Howard, and Pau Gasol, who has struggled with tendinitis in both of his knees and getting involved in the new offensive system as a whole. The hope for Nash's return is that he has a great understanding of how to involve players, and will surely work to get Gasol involved in the pick and roll game, where Nash has made teams pay for 16 years.
Steve Nash has quickly become a beacon of hope for the Los Angeles Lakers. Having played only one full game for the team, we have yet to see Nash gain any kind of chemistry with this sudden new look Lakers team. After the effect that quarterback Peyton Manning had with the Denver Broncos in the NFL, many are hopeful that this point guard, with his savvy leadership on the floor, his great jump shot, passing ability, and basketball intelligence will be enough to ressurect a team looking to reclaim its top spot in the Western Division.