Heading into the 2012-13 NBA season, the Los Angeles Lakers will almost certainly be without newly acquired center Dwight Howard. With Howard still recovering from back surgery and potentially unable to play for the first few months of the season, the Lakers will most likely be forced to explore other options in the frontcourt.
Since Pau Gasol is very familiar with playing the center position, the veteran forward will make the seamless transition to the five spot. With the Gasol moving over for the injured Howard, the Lakers’ coaching staff will have to decide which player they deem fit to take over as the starting at power forward.
The options for the starting power forward position have come down to two players with up-and-comer Jordan Hill and veteran Antawn Jamison the best options to fill the void. Even though Jamison is more than capable of becoming the starter right out of the gate, the Lakers seem to be leaning towards giving Hill the nod according to Sam Amick of SI.com:
“The Lakers have options in the interim, and a team source said a strong possibility would be a starting frontcourt of Pau Gasol and recently re-signed Jordan Hill with newly added forward Antawn Jamison coming off the bench. Hill’s rim-protecting presence may be necessary with the defensively challenged Jamison and Steve Nash in the lineup.”
If the Lakers were looking for an offensive boost while Howard recovers it would be hard not to make a case for Jamison being the starter to start the season. With Gasol, Metta World Peace, Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash on the floor at the same time, the offensive struggles the Lakers faced last season should begin to fade away and therefore Hill is the better candidate.
Hill’s ability to be a force to be reckoned with defensively makes him the clear favorite to slide into the starting role. Jamison has been labeled as a defensively liability in the past and that will probably continue in Los Angeles.
As of right now, Hill appears to be in the starting lineup for the first game of the regular season against the Dallas Mavericks on October 30, but that may very well change in the next two months. Lakers Coach Mike Brown may attempt to mix it up with Jamison getting a shot to prove his worth as a starter or giving both players with equal minutes until Howard can return healthy and ready to go.
In case you missed it – our fan reactions to the Nash/Howard trades!