As arguably the best show in the NBA heading into the 2012-13 NBA season, the Los Angeles Lakers are at the center of attention once again after adding superstars Dwight Howard and Steve Nash over the summer.
Along with bringing two perennial All-Stars without giving up more much than Andrew Bynum, the Lakers were also able to retain Pau Gasol and Jordan Hill while signing Jodie Meeks and Antawn Jamison.
Needless to say, the Lakers are reloaded with superstar-caliber talent and ready to make another run at a championship with Kobe Bryant leading the way. Although this revamped roster still needs to prove it’s better than it looks on paper, many NBA analysts and GMs around the league believe the Lakers are the team to beat in the Western Conference this season.
As a tribute to the Lakers’ recent superstar additions in the NBA preview issue, Nash and Howard will grace the cover of Sports Illustrated this week, but it’s the Miami Heat that steals the show as the clear favorites to win a second consecutive title according to Matt Dollinger of SI.com:
“The Lakers were hands down this offseason’s biggest winners, but let’s not forget the Heat were last season’s actual winners. And they’ve gotten better.”
With the Heat’s front office not content with bringing the same team back to defend their title, Miami was able to sign veteran free agents Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis. These two additions playing alongside LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh were enough to convince the majority that another title will be won by the Big 3 in South Beach this season.
As for the Lakers, the new-look squad led by a 34-year-old Kobe has much to prove with what is likely to be tremendous pressure to be successful from start to finish. Nothing less than a trip to the NBA Finals or possibly even championship will live up to the extremely high expectations of bringing in two more future Hall of Famers to help Kobe reach the ultimate goal of a sixth ring.
It’ll be interesting to see how everything pans out at season’s end, but before a single game has been played in the regular season the Heat and Lakers have been projected to play for it all in June.
In case you missed it: Dwight Howard talks about his Lakers debut.
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