The Los Angeles Lakers franchise has always had an elite big-man throughout its history. Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Shaquille O’Neal, and even Pau Gasol. Dwight Howard would be perfect to continue tradition but big-men are no longer the centerpieces to championship teams in today’s NBA. Although Pau Gasol was elite at his position during the Lakers back-to-back championships, Kobe Bryant was the Finals MVP both times. This league has evolved and now ball-handlers are essential for a championship contending team.
My idea for the Lakers to once again be championship contenders on a regular basis even after Kobe retires is for the Lakers to trade Dwight Howard for Russell Westbrook this off-season. An elite scorer like Westbrook could extend Kobe’s career even further by taking the pressure off of Kobe offensively. Westbrook’s energy and explosion is something the Lakers have been missing since Kobe has become more of a jump-shooter. Whenever Kobe comes back from his Achilles injury and adjusts back to his level of play pre-injury he and Russell Westbrook could be one of the best backcourts in NBA history.
Dwight Howard has said that he wants to win championships but he also wants his own team. But he has to come to reality that both of his wishes will not come true. Kevin Durant is probably the second best player in the NBA right now, so put him with Dwight Howard and that duo could be as incredible as Shaq and Kobe once were. The league’s best scorer and best rebounder on the same team can be a deadly combination. The battles that could happen between the Thunder with Durant, Howard, and Ibaka versus the Lakers with Westbrook, Bryant, and Gasol would be phenomenal.