In the midst of everyone’s BBQ and pool time yesterday, the Los Angeles Lakers pulled the trigger on a deal that would land them two-time MVP Steve Nash in exchange for four future draft picks (two 1st and two 2nd rounders). The reason the Lakers were able to pull off the deal financially (3 years, $25 million) is due to the trade exception they received from the Dallas Mavericks last season in the Lamar Odom trade.
Side note here: the Dallas Mavericks screwed the pooch this offseason. They chose not to re-sign Tyson Chandler, JJ Barea, etc. after winning their first championship last season, just so they could either sign Deron Williams (re-signed with Brooklyn, 5 years, $98 million) or trade for former Mav, Steve Nash. Now they have absolutely no backup plan –> well, they have their back-up after re-signing Jason Kidd to a three year, $9 million deal earlier today.
But that’s neither here nor there. Steve Nash instantly takes the ball out of Kobe’s hands when the offense become stagnant as it so often did last season, and he makes something happen. The issue with this trade is the fact that their defense at the point guard position regressed from a season ago. The main issue with the Lakers was their inability to cover opposing point guards. Steve Nash adds only to the problem. Ty Lawson and Russell Westbrook completely undressed a Lakers point-guard-by-committee in the first two rounds of last seasons’ playoffs. Nash is notoriously the worst defender at his position (hint: Suns of the mid 2000′s were never championship contenders for that very reason).
Everyone understands that defense wins. Without the ability to defend an increasingly better point guard core in the West is what will continue to hinder the Lakers moving forward. They will be a far tougher team to defend if Kobe allows Nash to be the ball dominant guard he needs to be. But defensively, he will be a liability.
Grade: B -