Does Steve Nash Make The Los Angeles Lakers The Favorite To Win The 2013 NBA Finals?
Steve Nash is headed to the Los Angeles Lakers. In a move that stunned a lot of NBA analysts who expected Nash to sign with the New York Knicks or the Toronto Raptors this offseason, the Phoenix Suns dealt the former league MVP in a sign-and-deal-trade to the Lake Show on Wednesday night in exchange for a handful of future draft picks. The 38-year-old received a three-year contract worth approximately $25 million before being sent out to La La Land to play with Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum, and the rest of the Lakers squad. And, many of those same analysts now think that the Lakers could have a legitimate shot to head back to the NBA Finals next season. But, is that realistic?
It definitely won’t be easy. For starters, Nash is, as we mentioned, 38 years old. He can’t play a lick of defense anymore. He’s relatively banged up at this point in his career. And, he’s far from one of the best point guards in the league anymore. So, while he’s going to be a huge improvement over the point guards on last year’s Lakers team—namely, Derek Fisher and later Ramon Sessions—Nash isn’t going to have the kind of impact that Chris Paul would have had if he’d been traded successfully to the Lakers from the New Orleans Hornets last season.
At the same time, if I’m a Lakers fan—and, for the record, I’m most definitely not—I love the trade because, at the very least, it makes me feel like the Lakers have a legitimate chance at making a championship run next year. They were clearly overmatched by the Oklahoma City Thunder in the 2012 NBA Playoffs and didn’t look like a team that was ready to make a deep run. Outside of Kobe, the other guys looked tentative and disinterested at times. And, that’s something that you’re not going to see from Nash. With him in the lineup, you’re going to get energy, determination, and a guy who’s hungry to get his first ring, which is exactly what the Lakers need right now.
Does that make them the favorites? No way. Not even close, actually. As long as the Thunder and the Miami Heat are healthy—or, hell, even somewhat healthy—it’s their title to fight over. But, the Lakers have at least given themselves a shot. And, if I’m a Lakers fans, that’s all I’d really care about. Well, that and maybe a possible deal for Dwight Howard. Stay tuned.