Howard, Nash bring more hype for Lakers
by David Leon Moore, USA TODAY Sports
EL SEGUNDO, Calif. — Expectations are always high in Lakerland, but this year, with the addition of Dwight Howard and Steve Nash to go with established stars Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol, the Los Angeles Lakers’ have inspired comparisons to the team’s last Big Four.
That was in 2003-04, when Karl Malone and Gary Payton joined forces with Shaquille O’Neal and Bryant to forge a superstar-studded lineup that . . . oh yeah, didn’t win.
Those Lakers endured chemistry issues all season, then Malone injured a knee and the Lakers were outplayed badly by the Detroit Pistons in the NBA Finals.
That’s something second-year coach Mike Brown doesn’t mind reminding his current collection of MVPs, All-Stars and future Hall of Famers.
He says it’s going to take some time for everything to mesh.
“Everybody’s going to wish that it happened yesterday, which is fine,” Brown says. “But there are going to be some bumps and bruises that we have to deal with.”
And something, Brown says, the Lakers need to remember. “The Western Conference champions? That’s the Oklahoma City Thunder. The NBA champs? That’s the Miami Heat.”
Despite the coach’s reality-checks, the Lakers were in a festive, optimistic mood Monday as they prepared to open training camp for a season that should be entertaining, will definitely be intriguing and could become memorable.
Lakers fans are beside themselves. Not only did the team add two entertaining stars to the roster in Howard and Nash, it added just what the Lakers seemed to need most – a savvy playmaker, a defensive dominator and some much-needed scoring depth in the form of forward Antawn Jamison and guard Jodie Meeks.
The acquisition of Howard had been speculated about for months. The addition of Nash seemed to come out of the blue.
Nash, who had so many great seasons playing for the Phoenix Suns, one of the Lakers’ most heated rivals, needed to do some soul-searching before deciding to join the team he had battled … [For more on Dwight Howard, Steve Nash bring more hype for Lakers, click here.]