6 Reasons The Lakers Won’t Win the NBA Finals Despite Dwight Howard Deal
Now that the Dwight Howard trade has been made official, many are already handing the Lakers a championship. Not so fast there, folks. Allow me to hit you with a little knowledge as to why they aren't the favorites to win the title right away and why they may not even be the best team in their own conference still. There are six reasons why.
Reason #1: Have We Learned Nothing From the Miami Heat?
Seriously, before we start polishing the Larry O'Brien Trophy, boxing it up, and sending it to Los Angeles, let's sit down for a quick history lesson from two seasons ago. Everyone thought the Miami Heat, upon acquiring LeBron James and Chris Bosh, were shoo-ins to win the title in their first year together. Remember how that worked out? Rome wasn't built in a day, people. Neither is a championship team.
Reason #2: Did the Lakers really get THAT much better?
There is no question that Dwight Howard is the best center in the league. But Andrew Bynum is by all accounts the second best center in the game and, to be honest, Bynum is a more well-rounded offensive player than Howard. Defensively, the Lakers just improved a whole lot but, offensively, the ball is not going to be anywhere near Howard in meaningful possessions. He is the fourth best offensive player on this team. Not to mention the obvious issue with Dwight...
Reason #3: How healthy is Dwight Howard going to be?
Again, before we send the trophy to Tinseltown, let's stop and consider another important factor: this trade does no good if Dwight Howard's surgically repaired back isn't physically where it needs to be. It's not like he sprained an ankle or pulled a hamstring while sneezing. The guy needed surgery to repair his back. There is no guarantee that he will ever be the same. Let's make sure he is before jumping to conclusions.
Reason #4: Their backcourt is a combined 72 years old
The 38 year old Steve Nash and 34 year old Kobe Bryant are obviously still elite players at their positions, but they aren't exactly what they once were. Nash is a flat out liability on the defensive end, which will rear its ugly head against a team like Oklahoma City who is fast everywhere on the floor. Kobe is still one of the five best in the league, but with his ability to get to the basket declining, we may see a lot of contested jumpers late in games.
I'm not saying that those guys are bad, but they are definitely flawed and with the level of talent of other guys at their positions, they could really hurt the Lakers' chances.
Reason #5: Kendrick Perkins
Remember how well Kendrick Perkins neutralized Dwight Howard in those epic Celtics/Magic playoff series before Perk was traded to Oklahoma City? Well, he will now be locked up with Howard all over again. It is hilarious to me how all of this has worked out, in almost serendipitous fashion, for Perkins. He looked awful in the Finals against a faster Miami team and many questioned his usefulness to the Thunder. Now, he is one of their most valuable players for his ability to slow down Superman.
And while we're here, let's not forget the rest of Oklahoma City's bigs. Serge Ibaka can tangle with D12 inside, while Nick Collison and Cole Aldrich provide six extra fouls each for the Thunder to use to assault Howard down low and make him go to the line, where he shoots a pathetic 58%. Let's not act like the Lakers have an automatic path to the Finals here.
Reason #6: The Miami Heat Got Better Too
How quickly people forget. Earlier this summer the Miami Heat brought in two more gunners for their drive and kick system, Rashard Lewis and Ray Allen. Allen, oh by the way, is only the greatest three point shooter of all time. I'm not saying that the Heat are the definitive favorites but, those moves and the returning health of Chris Bosh, make me believe that you have to beat the man to be the man.
It is entirely possible that the Los Angeles Lakers are going to destroy everyone in their path en route to an NBA title this year. But, in my eyes, the title is Miami's to lose. And I think the Western Conference title is Oklahoma City's to lose. If anything, it will be karmic retribution for Dwight after putting us all through the Dwightmare.