By Matt Hildreth, Contributing Writer and Loyal Lakers Fan
Mitch Kupchak, you’ve done it again!
I’m sure the people of Los Angeles celebrated in a big way Wednesday night. Not only because it was Independence Day. Not only with fireworks and barbecue.
The Los Angeles Lakers acquired Steve Nash in a sign and trade deal with the Phoenix Suns. Yeah, I’d say that’s a huge reason to celebrate.
The Lakers used the trade exception from the Dallas Mavericks trade last year. They also sent some future draft picks to Phoenix. Overall, the Lakers really didn’t give up much to acquire the two-time MVP. But, for the most part, that’s how Mitch Kupchak prefers to deal. Just ponder upon the details of the trade that brought Pau Gasol in a few years back. As quoted by Stephen A. Smith, “The Lakers gave up Kwa-may Brown! Who cares?!”
What do I think of the acquisition? Well, obviously it’s an upgrade. Ramon Sessions as a point guard is younger and quicker than Nash. But truthfully speaking, Sessions will never be in the same caliber as Steve Nash. I mean, we’re talking about a multi-time All-Star and two-time MVP here. Not a guy we have to question whether he’s a starting caliber point guard in the NBA.
Yes, he’s 38 years old. We know he has his defensive troubles. But no one can deny Nash’s overall talent level on the offensive end. 12.5 ppg, 10.7 apg, 53.2% FG, 39.0% 3PT, 89.4% FT. Yeah, not bad for a 38 year old. One could argue that he’s the best passer AND pure shooter in the game. Not a bad guy to have on your team, eh?
Now what really amazes me is how he managed to average almost 11 apg on the Phoenix Suns. I mean, c’mon, who did he have to pass to? Shannon Brown? Jared Dudley? Marcin Gortat? He sure had some future Hall of Famers running alongside him, didn’t he?
No, but really, Nash is going to have MUCH better teammates to pass to this time around. Let it be known that MUCH better is still an understatement. Let’s see, two future Hall of Famers in Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol. One of the most talented centers in the game in Andrew Bynum. Not bad company.
This is going to be the most talent Nash has played with since his days with Amare Stoudemire, Shawn Marion, Joe Johnson, and company. Nash’s forte has always been the pick and roll, which he ran with Amare Stoudemire for much of his career. Now he will most likely have Pau Gasol as his pick and roll partner. Considering Nash and Gasol’s passing and shooting abilities, I’d say that’s a pretty deadly combo for the pick and roll!
Are the Lakers contenders now? Sure. Are they the favorites? I don’t think so. Not yet, at least.
The Lakers still have bench issues. Maybe coaching issues as well? Yes, coach Mike Brown is still a question mark. How will he get all these pieces to fit? Nash, Bryant, Gasol, and Bynum all need the ball a solid amount to be effective. Personally, I think Nash, Gasol, and even Bryant at times are unselfish enough to make the puzzle fit.
I’m excited. I can’t wait for next season. Steve Nash in purple and gold? It still hasn’t fully hit me yet, I don’t think. What’s next for Mitch Kupchak and the Lakers this off-season? Let’s wait and see, shall we?