Lakers Still Have Major Questions
The Lakers began last season without the grandest expectations, an unfamiliar feeling. Phil Jackson had moved on after a failed title defense, Mike Brown had minimal training camp to install his system, and the Lakers’ age figured to be problematic in a lockout-compressed schedule.
Now, however, limitless expectations are back in Lakerland after a veritable Hall of Fame class of talent and an upgraded bench were assembled by Mitch Kupchak and Jim Buss in the offseason. To meet all the renewed expectations, the Lakers – who open the 2012-13 season with media day Monday and their first practice Tuesday – had better answer five key questions in positive ways.
1. How will Dwight Howard fit in?
Howard comes to the Lakers somewhat humbled after his never-ending waffling and public-relations disasters in Orlando, also trying to recapture his physical dominance after April 20 spinal surgery marked the biggest injury of his eight-year career. The Lakers hope Howard’s shot blocking in the paint and tremendous activity vs. pick and rolls will immediately make them one of the NBA’s best teams at the less glorified end of the floor – despite limited athleticism elsewhere on the roster. Howard will also need to figure out an offensive role when Pau Gasol is a superior post-up player and better fit for the Princeton offense components the Lakers are installing.