How will the addition of Dwight Howard help the Lakers' shots at another NBA Championship? Find out what the NBA odds makers are saying, as well as our predictions as to how Dwight Howard will fit in with his new team in Los Angeles.
After hearing about the
blockbuster Dwight Howard trade involving four NBA teams and several elite marquee players, I
immediately could imagine Kobe looking at LeBron and smiling. The Lakers now
have arguably the best big three ever assembled with Steve Nash, Dwight Howard,
and Kobe in Los Angeles.
Although the trade is not
official and needs NBA approval, it appears that all teams end up winners with
this deal. However, the rumors that had been circling had always mentioned Pau
Gasol going to Denver. I believe that putting Gasol back into the post where
his elite passing and shooting skills excel will be the best and most
consistent combination. Now, the Lakers have a starting lineup that no other
teams can matchup against completely.
The Los Angeles Lakers will start
Howard at center, Kobe at the two guard, Steve Nash at point guard, Pau Gasol
at power forward, and Metta World Peace at small forward. These players, though
can be interchanged with Howard playing power forward and Galso center. Kobe
can switch to small forward and Peace moved to the shooting guard position.
Regardless, the trade clearly shows the Lakers front office commitment to
winning another NBA Title.
Howard’s contract is up in 2013
and according to his agent, he will not sign a contract extension with the
Lakers. Initially, you would think this is bad news for the Lakers, but I
believe this just gives Howard an opportunity to get to know and learn what
life in Hollywood is all about. If he would become a free agent, only the
Dallas Mavericks and Brooklyn Nets will have the cap space available to sign
Former Lakers’ center Andrew
Bynum gets the gift of going home. With him heading to the 76ers, he returns
home to where he grew up in Plainsboro, NJ, which is only about 50 minute drive
to the Wells Fargo Center. The 76ers are also taking a huge chance that Bynum
will not sign a contract extension with the 76ers. However, I do believe the
win here is that head coach Doug Collins is perhaps the best coach at
developing young players, and that Bynum will be a great fit in Philadelphia.
Changes in the NBA Odds?
The NBA odds makers, though, are
not at all impressed with the trade. They still have the Miami Heat installed
as favorites to win the NBA Championship. The Lakers have moved from 7:1
favorites to 3:1 odds to win the Championship, while the Heat are unchanged at
2:1. I find this a bit unusual, as there has been no shift in the Heat odds. I
believe that over the next several weeks, the lack of Heat betting interest
will force the NBA odds makers to move their line to 3:1 and make the Lakers and
Heat co-favorites to win the Championship.
How the West will be won
Looking at the Western
Conference, which now has become even stronger than the Eastern Conference, the
Lakers are the favorites win. The Western Conference has at least three elite
championship caliber title teams in the Oklahoma City Thunder, the San Antonio
Spurs, and the Lakers. The Lakers are now installed at 3:1 odds, the Thunder at
4:1 odds, and the Spurs distant 12:1 odds to win the Western Conference.
If you simply compare Bynum with
Howard, I only see a modest improvement with Howard in terms of just talent. On
paper there are just slight differences individually, but when Howard is added
with Gasol, Nash, Kobe, and Peace, the team becomes vastly improved.
Based on how Howard mishandled
his Orlando situation, he is a more mature player than Bynum, who suffered from
mental lapses in game situations and did possess obvious on the court attitude
issues. You won’t see that nearly as much with Howard and chemistry is what
will win the Lakers another World Championship.