Sports Out West

Los Angeles Lakers: Who should LAL start on opening night?

Photo Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn/USA TODAY Sports

With the start of the  2013-14 season now less than two months away, the Los Angeles Lakers are ready to make a push for the playoffs and prove their doubters wrong and make some noise.

The moves that were made this offseason have put the franchise in unfamiliar territory as a team placed with low expectations by the media due to  Dwight Howard‘s decision to leave the organization and join the Houston Rockets. The roster has undergone some changes with several new additions via free agency in Nick Young, Chris Kaman, Wesley Johnson, Elias Harris and Jordan Farmar.
 
 So with the changes to the team’s personal here is the starting lineup that the Lakers should put on the floor this upcoming season:
 
Point Guard: Steve Nash
 
The 39-year-old point guard may not be the player he once was but he is still the best point guard on this team. Nash when healthy is still an excellent passer, ball handler and shooter. What holds in Nash’s favor is familiarity with head coach Mike D’Antoni’ offense, which is the system he ran during his years with the Phoenix Suns. He is one of the core players that the team will depend on for leadership and major contribution.
 
Shooting guard: Kobe Bryant
 
This position is one that needs no questioning in who will be starting. Bryant is the Lakers best and most impactful player , even as he is still rehabbing from Achilles surgery he had in May. He is the head of the snake and one of the key cogs the offense will run through. Bryant, who is in going into his 18 year in the league,  is still an elite-level player and will have a huge impact on how successful the Lakers will be this season.
 
Small Forward: Nick Young
 
Young is one of the Lakers new faces this upcoming season and he is set to fill the position that Metta World Peace occupied for several years with team. Young brings his quickness, athleticism and shooting ability to a team that struggled to gain consistency on both ends of the floor. What is most important that Young provides to this team is a another scorer who can create his own shot and with his presence on the court with Bryant, Nash, and Gasol it should help generate a more efficient team offense.
 
Power Forward: Jordan Hill
 
 The 26-year-old will be the Lakers best option at power forward as Gasol is expected to slide over to center, which is a move that will improve the team’s fluidity in D’Antoni’s system and also help keep Chris Kaman as an offensive spark off the bench. Hill‘s role in the starting lineup will be to provide rebounding, defense, and when called upon in the offense to knock down jumpers and score in the low post . His contribution to the team’s offense may be limited but what helps is that he will playing in a defined role as a supporting cast player.
 
Center: Pau Gasol
 
With the departure of Howard, Gasol will fit in nicely as the Lakers’ starting center, which is the position he first played when he was acquired by the team during the 2007-08 season as then team center Andrew Bynum was out due to injury. The 7-foot Spaniard should strive in D’Antoni’s system this year as he is the sole focus inside for the Lakers with Howard no longer there to occupy the same area of the floor on offense. He is a talented big man with good post moves, passing ability and mid-range game. 
 
With Gasol now at center expect him to return to All-Star form and average at or near a double-double at 18 points and 10 rebounds a game with his larger role in the team’s offense this season.  His impact to this team along with Bryant will ultimately decide the level of success that the Lakers achieve in the 2013-14 season.
 

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Bob Garcia IV

Bob Garcia is a sports journalist from Southern California. He was a reporter for the award-winning newspaper, The Daily Sundial, at California State University, Northridge. You can follow him on Twitter, @BGarcia90.

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