With Dwight Howard, are the Lakers the best in the NBA?

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Image Credit: 24 Designs/AngelMaker on DeviantArt.com

Are the Lakers now the “kings of the court” in the NBA? Follow our analysis below on today’s Dwight Howard trade, including thoughts from ESPN and reactions on Twitter.  ESPN’s experts still pick the Heat to win it all. Do you agree? Vote below and let us know how far you think the Lakers will go in 2012.

The Los Angeles Lakers now have the best starting five in the NBA.  Steve Nash, Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol, and Metta World Peace will have all the stars in Hollywood on the sidelines.  Nash brings experience, veteran leadership, and an uncanny ability at the point guard position to make everyone around him better.  Kobe is one of the most prolific scorers and competitors that the game has ever seen, and when he retires, he’ll be considered one of the greatest of all time.  Bryant even has the opportunity to tie Michael Jordan with six rings.

Kobe has got to be ecstatic about his supporting cast. Dwight “Superman” Howard is a defensive beast—3x NBA Defensive Player of the Year.  Bottom line, he alters shots, and this is what the Lakers have been missing. He’ll be the center piece of endless pick and rolls with Steve Nash.  Pau Gasol has taken enough criticism over the years.  When the Lakers are winning, Pau is aggressive, scoring and passing with the best in the League.  In defeat, he is soft and timid.  There will be many “W’s” in the Lakers win column this season and Pau Gasol will be a major influence on this team’s championship hopes.  Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard will be an unmatched presence down low.  Metta World Peace still plays elite defense, and the Lakers need Peace to lock down stars like OKC’s Kevin Durant and Miami’s Lebron James if they are going there is going to be a 2013 championship parade in L.A.  Antawn Jamison, recently acquired, will be the Lakers sixth man.  Jamison, Steve Blake and Jordan Hill make the Lakers bench deep enough to be contenders.

Summary of Dwight Howard 4-Team Trade

  • Los Angeles Lakers: Dwight Howard, Chris Duhon, Earl Clark
  • Philadelphia Sixers: Andrew Bynum, Jason Richardson
  • Denver Nuggets: Andre Iguodola
  • Orlando Magic: Aaron Afflalo, Al Harrington, Nikola Vucevic, Moe Harkless, forward Josh McRoberts, Christian Eyenga and future protected first round and 2015 protected second round draft picks to Orlando.

Winners and Losers of D12 Trade

Los Angeles Lakers

Razorgator: A

The Lakers clearly came out of this trade with the best deal.  Mitch Kupchak has had a busy offseason, first landing Steve Nash. Now, the Lakers finally added the best big man in basketball, Dwight Howard.  In addition, the team adds Chris Duhon and Earl Clark to to the bench.

ESPN: A/A+

The Lakers were able to upgrade at the center position in adding Dwight Howard, while keeping Pau Gasol.

Philadelphia Sixers

Razorgator: A

The Philadelphia Sixers did well too.  Philadelphia is going to be dangerous with the addition of Andrew Bynum in the middle.  This is a young team that just improved dramatically by adding the second best center in the NBA.  Jason Richardson will provide meaningful minutes off the bench too for Coach Doug Collins.

ESPN: A/B

The Sixers drastically upgraded their team with Bynum, but they need to ensure that he signs an extension on his contract.

Denver Nuggets

Razorgator: C

The Nuggets gave up too much in Aaron Afflalo and Al Harrington for the 28 year old Andre Iguodola, despite shedding salary.  Iguodola is still a force, but cannot carry the Nuggets franchise.  The Lakers won’t be worried about a Ty Lawson and Andre Iguodola Nuggets team.  Denver could very well get bounced in the first round of the playoffs, again.  Coach George Karl is brilliant, but he does not have the roster to compete with the new “super teams” in the West.  

ESPN:  A-

Andre Iguodola will fit well in George Karl’s system.  He plays great defense and is dynamic out in the open court. 

Orlando Magic

Razorgator: D

The Orlando Magic are the biggest losers of the trade.  It was inevitable to lose Dwight Howard, but the Magic need more than Aaron Afflalo and Al Harrington.  Orlando also acquired Nikola Vucevic, Moe Harkless, Josh McRoberts, Christian Eyenga and draft picks.  First year general manager, Rob Hennigan, got a taste of the NBA first hand.  Earlier this summer, the Magic had an opportunity to trade Howard to the Nets for Brook Lopez, Kris Humphries, Marshon Brooks, and four first round draft picks.

ESPN: C/C-

The Magic’s future is highly uncertain because they just got rid of their franchise player without getting much in return.


More Reactions to the Dwight Howard Trade

Kobe Bryant on Howard

“Well, it looks like Superman has found a home. I wish nothing but the best for Big Bynum. I hope he follows what was a great season last year with an even better one next year. I know LA is excited about the deal and rightfully so. The Lakers landed a piece that will hopefully carry the franchise long after I’m gone. I have spoken to Dwight Howard already and we are locked and loaded to bring back the title. Wow, what a summer Jimmy and Mitch have had so far. Unreal! I’m focused on our semifinal game vs Argentina but I had to pause for a few to send you my thoughts, in case you were curious.”

Pau Gasol on Howard

“That’s big news. That’s huge…. It puts us in position to be a powerful team.””I’ve been involved in so many talks and so many rumors. We all know that. After a while I’d been able to block it out.

“I feel relieved. I’m anxious and excited to be back with our team, fully committed, fully focused on just working extremely hard and helping our team as much as I can.”

Shaquille O’Neal on Howard

“I have three sons and I always tell them that if you want to call yourself big, then you have big shoes to fill,” O’Neal said. “Anybody who calls himself big has big shoes to fill. Right now, he’s off pace. He has to get himself on pace if he wants to call himself big.”

Los Angeles Times on Howard

“Dwight Howard trade reaffirms Lakers will to win

“Dwight Howard to the Lakers, just as Magic Johnson asked

“Lakers hit grand slam with acquisition of Dwight Howard”

 

 Reactions to the Dwight Howard Trade on Twitter

 

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