...with or without Dwight.
Their transition D is very poor. Shocking, right? It just goes to show how overrated kobi is on defense. Dwight is a great defensive player. But he's not going to affect transition D that much because he's a big man. He's going to help on transition D but not enough to compensate for kobi's and Nash's poor transition D.
When LA has somewhere around 60 victories most teams would wish they had the Lakers problems.
While not a Kobe fan at all, I fail to see all the Laker hate.
Most people who hate them mostly just hate them for being good, and being able to draw the best free agents on a consistent basis.
Like me. I hate them for both. No point in denying it.
In 95-96 the Bulls went 0-8 in the preseason. Go check that season and see how "in trouble" the Bulls were. The Preseason means nothing.
When the starting 5 is on the court at the same time then you can assess something about the team.
I don't believe they'll smoke every team and win 70 games and cruise to 2 titles the next 2 years.
The Thunder, Heat are too good for them and I think one of those 2 will beat them in a long series this year.
People forget that Howard is in foul trouble a lot and is a liability from the free throw line. The Thunder match up very well against them with Harden, Sefolosha and even Durant guarding Kobe. Nash trying to guard Westbrook is a mismatch. Everyone knows that Perkins is one of the best post defenders and he's played Howard a lot. Ibaka is improving every year and an athletic big man that disrupts the paint with his shot blocking. MWP is a solid defender but not the same defender he used to be and Durant is the best scorer in the league hands down.
No one really talks abut the Lakers bench which is much improved. Chris Duhon can run the point, Meeks is a solid shooter off the bench. Jordan Hill gives them a solid young big man off the bench same goes for Earl Cleark and Ebanks. I'm not a fan of Jamison anymore he is a solid veteran that can score but he's a liability on defense esp. this late in his career. All those bench players will give MWP, Gasol, Kobe, Nash some much needed rest.
I would still take OKC to win the West but it would be a very close series between the 2 of they meet in the playoffs.
If they did get past the Thunder.not sure the Lakers match up well defensively against Miami. Kobe would have to defend Wade which seems to go against their game plan of having him play the other teams weaker offensive guard. No way Nash can check him and if they tried to switch up and put MWP on Wade then Lebron would punish Kobe in the post. Bosh, Haslem, Lewis, James can all make jump shots and would pull Howard and/or Gasol away from the basket enough to open up the paint. Howard would dominate as the Heat don't have a big man with size to bother him. Chalmers a savy defender would be on Nash and Wade/James two of the best defenders in the league would take turns guarding Kobe.
NYK2000, they match up great against the Heat. First, Nash would guard Chalmers or Ray Allen, maybe even Shaine Batteir or Mike Miller. All those guys are spot up shooters, none have a post game to punish Nash and only Chalmers really has a dribble drive game. And if the Heat turn their offense over to Chalmers driving the ball while Lebron, Wade and Bosh spot up for jumpers, then I think the Lakers have already won. Second, they have MWP to guard Lebron which is about as good as you can hope for. Kobe can stop Wade in the post and make Wade work on defense. Then, as you point out, Howard destroys them at center. He forces them play a true center instead of Bosh, which then keeps them from having their best players on the floor. And even if the Heat try to go small, Howard is agile enough to guard Bosh in space, so the Lakers don't have to match up and they can stay big. They can keep MWP on Lebron and Jamison could guard Battier at three. Heck, even Pau could guard Battier if all Battier is going to do is stand in the corner and shoot threes.
I'm not saying that the Lakers are favored against the Heat. The Heat still have the best player on the court. But it isn't a matchup issue.