The Immediate Impact of the Steve Nash Trade for the Lakers
I first want to point out that by cohort MajerleKJ’s excellent post on preferred landing spots for Steve Nash ended up being utterly ironic. Obviously, Phoenix Suns fans did not want to see Nash in the purple and gold torching them for 20 and 10 four times a year. I, on the other hand, relish the thought. It’s why you continue to read SpreeGoogs – the abundance of diverse, equally stellar opinions.
Here are a few thoughts on the impact the trade has on the Lakers:
1. It gives them a chance to beat the Thunder.
Notice I said it gives them a chance. The Thunder are still certainly the team to beat in the West still, and Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Harden are only going to be better next year. But the Lakers now pose much more of a threat to them because Nash will provide so much more spacing for Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum to operate down low and he’s a deadly outside shooter.
2. The Lakers’ pick and roll just got 100 times better.
Mike Brown’s teams live and die by the pick and roll. The Lakers could not run it effectively last year because, let’s face it, Ramon Sessions, Derek Fisher and Steve Blake were their primary point guards. Nash runs this play better than pretty much anyone in the league. Ask Smush Parker – wherever he is, I guarantee he still has Nash pick and roll nightmares.
3. More zone defense, perhaps?
For all the life he injects into a team’s offense, Nash does not exactly do the same on the other end of the court. He hasn’t been able to guard Westbrook, Chris Paul or Tony Parker for several years now, and that won’t change with this trade. He will have the luxury of having Bynum and Gasol behind him for help, but my thought is that the Lakers should just commit to a zone defense for (long) stretches of games. It would help hide Nash’s (and Kobe’s) defensive deficiencies and also give Bynum and Gasol the opportunity to patrol the lane freely.
4. World Peace has got to go.
In no universe can I see Metta World Peace meshing well with Steve Nash on the offensive end. For starters, he is not a reliable shooter, which Nash should have around him given his deft drive and kick abilities. Second, World Peace needs to dominate the ball in order to be really effective and engaged. With Nash in town, there is no reason anyone else should be a primary ball-handler. I think the Lakers should amnesty World Peace and either sign Grant Hill (apparently Nash is recruiting him) or start Devin Ebanks, a much better shooter who could fill a role similar to Trevor Ariza on the Lakers team that featured Kobe, Shaquille O’Neal, Karl Malone and Gary Payton.
5. This is the best thing that ever happened to Gasol.
This trade essentially means that, to his relief, he is not getting traded. It signals that the Lakers think they can contend with their current core plus Nash. Nash also is the perfect point guard for Pau – great on the pick and roll, awesome in transition and the ultimate creator of 12-foot jump shots. We could potentially see a revitalized Gasol this year. Then again, we say that every year.
I can’t wait for the NBA season to start. Let us know what other impact the trade will have in the comments.