If the Los Angeles Lakers new super team of Steve Nash, Dwight Howard and Kobe Bryant is going to win an NBA Championship, they had better do it soon. Because these guys are good, but there is another word to describe them…old. Nash is 37 years old. Bryant is a very old 34. He been in the NBA for almost half his like now. This will be his 17th season. 17 years of 82 game regular seasons and deep playoff runs. Then throw in some international ball in summer times and he has played a lot of basketball…A LOT of basketball. So how much tread is left on those tires?
We are watching Peyton Manning get old. We’ve seen it happen to other stars too. It’s inevitable. And it will happen to Kobe. Now 34 is not old. We remember at 34 we were still in decent shape. We could still go out and play some pickup ball at the local playground. But we aren’t talking about us at 34. We’re talking about an elite athlete in a world of elite athletes. At 34 we couldn’t quite run as fast as when we were 19. But it didn’t matter. In the NBA it matters. Kobe might be good enough to play at an elite level for another year, maybe even two. But it won’t be much more than that. So Dwight and Steve need to bring their A game from the beginning this season.
There won’t be a year to learn to play together like Wade, Bosh and Lebron had. They came up just short in Year One. But it was OK because they cam back in Year Two stronger and better and won it all. That trick will not be as easy for the Lakers. The best this team will ever be is this season. They will immediately go on the decline. With Lebron, Wade and company not looking to be ready to relinquish anything (the Heat added Ray Allen for this year), it may be that this group will not win any NBA Championships together. With Howard, they will have something to build around for the future though. That is if Howard stays in L.A. which he has not committed to.
And let us not forget about the team in Oklahoma City. Those guys are young, hungry and very good. They seem to be on the rise still with Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook still on the upswing. Then there is the Lakers roommate, the Clippers, who are also on the rise. So the pressure is on from day one with this team. Howard has never seemed to be one to handle pressure very well. So this should be very fun to watch. I can’t wait until the season tips off.