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On Thursday night, the internet practically exploded when the news broke that Dwight Howard had been traded to the Los Angeles Lakers. Rumors of a Howard trade had been circling around for months, but this was the one that stuck. Considering the Lakers already added Steve Nash back in July, the acquisition of Howard makes them pretty damn scary.

There’s a lot of people claiming that the Lakers have become the team to beat in the West, or at the very least, that they are very close second after the Thunder. For fans of the Grizzlies, and every other playoff team in the west, this has to be a cause of concern. Getting through the western conference was the hard enough, now the Lakers have morphed into a rampaging beast. With the three-headed monster of of the Thunder, Spurs, and Lakers standing atop the West, do teams like the Grizzlies still have a shot?

Well, the future might not be as bleak as it looks.

I’ll be the first to admit, I was pretty nervous when the news initially broke. For one thing, the Lakers starting lineup looks strikingly solid now, with Nash, Kobe, Gasol, and Howard. Metta World Peace is the obvious weak spot, but he’s still an intense, highly physical player, and he’s also capable of getting hot from behind the arc. The addition of Antawn Jamison will also bolster what was a pretty weak bench for the Lakers last season.

But as good as the Lakers starting 5 looks, we have no idea how it will co-exist. Nash and Kobe are both talented players, but we don’t know if they can play together, especially since they both like to be in charge of the offense. For all we know, the Lakers backcourt could look a lot like the Knicks frontcourt; clouded and redundant.

So yeah, the Lakers are hardly guaranteed a title yet. As for the Thunder, their lack of depth was exposed in the finals. When one of their big 3 couldn’t get going – in this case James Harden – the lack of legitimate options becomes pretty obvious. As for they play a beautiful, clean game of basketball, but it can be disrupted, as the Thunder showed in the Western finals, when Perkins and Ibaka rendered them fairly ineffective.

So yes, all of these teams have flaws. They might be the three favorites in the West, but it’s hardly a three-team race, and with the right combination of chemistry and luck, a team like the Grizzlies could still reach the finals. If the lineup comes together, and Rudy and Z-Bo finally learn to co-exist, this team can still go very far next season. The Dwight Howard trade has made things a bit more difficult, but it hardly disqualifies the Grizzlies from contending for a spot in the finals.

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10 Responses to How Does The Dwight Howard Trade Affect Teams Like The Grizzlies?

  1. RfoxNo Gravatar says:

    for what my opinion is worth I think we are looking at a 5 or 6 seed and a first or second round exit after a tough series –

    now that the Nuggets and Lakers are much better I don’t see us going higher than a 5 seed if we sneak past the clippers

    somehow we gotta get a star from somewhere

  2. AndyNo Gravatar says:

    What I don’t get is how the HELL can the Lakers re-sign Dwight? Their 78 million of payroll next season has to be over the hard cap, right??

    Frantically looking for a loophole here, someone please come burst my bubble with some Bird rights bullshit and get it over with….

    • StevedNo Gravatar says:

      Hard cap? As I understand it, they can retain their own FA’s. They would pay an absolute crap load to retain him with the luxury dollars going up and up.

  3. jeremey simekNo Gravatar says:

    The big markets will always rule the Nba in the sense of big fee agents being highly paid for they can make their money back through other avenues hat small market teams have trouble. Although San Antonio has the blueprint for small market success. In my opionon small markets must rely on hitting on the draft pick n being smart in free agent market. Teams with bad drafts repeat this cycle over m over again. Memphis has been prettybgood in there drafts with the exception of 2009 with thabbet where they could have got James Hardin or Evans, or curry etc etc. Also the 2003 draft where they had to give the 2 pick to Detroit who choked with Dario instead of wade, bosh, melo

  4. btrautscNo Gravatar says:

    I agree with the comments… this makes for a really tough playoff road. LA just got pretty ridiculous (at least for a year/ if not more). DEN just got more athletic with a group of young flexible players. We don’t really care about ORL.

    So, just how good is LA? If Howard is healthy and Nash can play suitable minutes – they alone with a crew of role players would be a back of napkin playoff team. Throw in a very solid Pau (from Olympics) and a healthy Bryant (also looked good in London) and you have a real beast.

    Memphis, SA, & OKC have a shot though. IMHO – LA is still a *relatively weak defensive team (especially matched up with MEM/ OKC). Nash is not going to be able to keep Conley, Parker, or Westbrook in front of him at this age. Pau still cannot adequately defend Zbo. MWP albeit hyper physical – will have a lot of trouble with Durant/ Rudy Gay. Also, with physical centers the 3 teams should be able to beat up on and ideally cause Howard to work both sides of the floor.

    To beat LA in a playoff series, Tony Allen will have to be the crazy-in-a-bottle TA sprinting up and down the floor annoying Bryant. ZBo will have to be establishing 8 foot post ups against Pau. Marc will have to set high ball screens at 20ft to lure Dwight away from the paint and knock down standing 19 footers to keep him honest. And finally Mike & Rudy will have to get into the lane and cause chaos.

  5. Chris FaulknerNo Gravatar says:

    Let’s not just sweep Howard’s injury issue under the rug …. it’s not a chronic injury but it is an acute back injury for a very large man.

    Do the Lakers now have the oldest starting 5 in the NBA?

  6. HaydenNo Gravatar says:

    I don’t think Denver will be as good as everybody is hyping. The Grizzlies are just as athletic and we have more depth. We should be at minimum, in the conference semis next year. The 4 seeded Grizzlies will beat the 5 seeded Nuggets in 6 games. The Spurs, I doubt them as well, but the Lakers and the Thunder will probably be too good.

    • RfoxNo Gravatar says:

      If Denver is healthy they will be a world of trouble for anyone in the West. They will go as far as McGee develops in some ways because of the good centers in the West but they can play D run and shoot lights out.

      Our season and next likely come down to a few questions
      1) what is left in ZBo’s tank? can he get back to being a 24 PER guy? if so we are going to be nasty
      2) what is Gasol’s ceiling? if Zbo is in decline due to age and weight can Gasol become the dominant inside scorer to fill that decline? or has Gasol peaked?
      3) can anyone play 2 guard and score?
      4) Will Conley make one more incremental step?

      if all of those go our way we have a chance to play at the OKC level

  7. StevedNo Gravatar says:

    Goddam I wish we were in the East.

  8. new_skool91No Gravatar says:

    When will Howard be ready to play? It is accurate that he may not be ready for the start of the season? Yes, this year the Lakers are good, but they will only have a 1-2 year window; however, as much “luck” as they have had, probably 2 years from now they will trade MWP for D-Wade and LeBron.

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