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Dwight Howard is now a Laker

For it was written in the ancient scriptures: Los Angeles shalt summon all hall of fame centers from Orlando.

Dwight Howard is a Laker. Howard. Is. A. Laker.

Deep breath, focus on controlling your heart rate, choose a positive image to channel your energy…Oh, who am I kidding, let the booty-shaking begin because the Lakeshow just jumped on the party bus!! (*cue the ‘Party Peopleeeeeeee!’ from “Whoomp, there it is” in the background)

Technically it has to get the final blessing from the NBA, but this isn’t a Chris Paul situation – unless someone doesn’t pass a physical this thing is a done deal. That being said, all Laker fans are still holding their breath because it looks too good to be true.

The immediate benefits are that Los Angeles gains crazy athleticism, scary good defense, and a ridiculous one-two punch on the pick and roll. Steve Nash dishing out delicious dimes to D12 will be a thing of beauty to watch this fall. Check out the graphic below of where D12 stands in the rankings.

Pau Gasol will get a huge benefit from having Dwight in town. While a healthy Bynum allowed Pau to play his natural power forward position, Bynum was slow and clogged up lanes. By camping out on the block he would stagnate the offense and make it difficult for Pau to cut and slash, instead you saw a lot more mid-range jumpers. Not terrible, because Pau can shoot, but let’s try to keep our 7-footers near the rim in the future, mkay? With Howard’s speed and agility, and Nash driving the bus, the offense will be much more fluid, allowing for more open shots and separation. It also means that Kobe will have to be more Black Mamba than Black Hole. For this to work Kobe has to share the burden with his more-than-able teammates.

It’s interesting that in all the shifts to “small-ball” that teams have made (OKC, Miami) the Lakers are standing firm with the twin towers approach. The Dwight addition gives the Lakeshow the best possible version of this. He fills in the gaps that Bynum couldn’t (mainly speed and consistent defense).

As Bill Simmons points out it’s difficult not to believe that spending so many months in LA didn’t influence Howard pushing to join the Lakers. My guess is that’ll only bolster his decision to resign…oh, and playing with Kobe, Nash, and Pau with a legitimate chance to win the championship might have something to do with that too.

It was a highly-complex 4-team trade involving LA, Orlando, the 76ers, and Denver that essentially boiled down to this: the Lakers traded Bynum for Howard. I’ll take that deal all day long and twice on Sunday. Andre Iguodala was the only other important name in equation, and here’s a quick breakdown of who gets what:

Lakeshow Orlando 76ers Denver
Dwight Howard Arron Afflalo Andrew Bynum Andre Iguodala
Chris Duhon Al Harrington Jason Richardson
Earl Clark Nikola Vucevic
Moe Harkless
Draft picks
*Christian Eyenga
*Josh McRoberts
*Rumored to be added into the deal by the Lakers

There are plenty of what-ifs in this scenario, the main one being that there’s no guarantee that Howard will stay after this season (but he stands to make nearly $118m over 5 years if he does). Technically Bynum would have been in the same boat (his contract ends after the 2012-2013 season), so all things being equal you have to go with Howard.

The real question is: Will this be enough to beat OKC and Miami? The Lakers are quicker overall, stronger in the post, and finally have a great point guard for the first time since the Showtime days. Bench depth and pure shooters are still concerns. Antawn Jamison will be a solid piece of the puzzle and I’m thrilled with Jordan Hill resigning. Sure wish we coulda’ gotten someone like Jason Terry (though I hate him and I hate his ass face) to fill that gap.

Either way, this will be the most exciting Laker team to watch in the past decade. It will be crazy-go-nuts awesome.

Comments

  1. Pratherj92672 says:

    A lot is going to hang on Kobe’s Shoulders as he was ineffective in trusting his teammates last season. While I am optimistic that Kobe will use the pain of losing this season to accept that he can no longer bogart the ball, there is still that tickle that creeps up when I imagine with 7 seconds in game 7,Lebron guarding him man on, with Bosch coming for the double team leaving a wide open Howard under the rim then jacking a crazy ass three at the baseline drifting out of bounds.

    There I said it. Kobe, no excuses now…

    1. Andy Starr says:

      The difference this year is that he’s got proven teammates who can deliver. Fish was really the only other guy he’d trust to take a final shot. But I get it man, we need more Black Mamba…not Black Hole.

    2. Andy Starr says:

      Hopefully being surrounded by hall of famers will be enough to adjust his game. Keep in mind, Nash will play a major role in how that offense runs. He has so many options available that Kobe isn’t the only hope.

      Fish was the only guy who had proven he could hit a clutch shot (besides Kobe). Now its wide open.