Do the L.A. Lakers Have the NBA’s Top Backcourt and Frontcourt Without Howard?

There has not been much news lately on the Dwight Howard front. The teams vying for his services may be faced with the very real possibility that Orlando is resigned to starting the season with Howard on the roster.

The Los Angeles Lakers have been mentioned as one of the front-runners in the chase to acquire Howard, but even if they fail, it shouldn't change the team's ultimate goal for an NBA championship in 2013.

The Lakers still have some questions to answer defensively and depth-wise, but the current version of their roster may be just as talented as the 2010 team that won the NBA Finals.

And that is true whether the Lakers acquire Howard or not, at least on paper.

The backcourt of Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash may be the NBA's oldest starting backcourt next season, but the numbers suggest they will also be arguably the league's best.

There are no other teams in the NBA who have two future Hall of Famers in their backcourt, and even at 38 and 34 respectively, Nash and Bryant are still currently considered among the top five players in the league at their positions.

The only other traditional point guard-shooting guard backcourt that can even be statistically compared to Nash and Bryant is the newly-formed tandem of Deron Williams and Joe Johnson in Brooklyn, and they still trail the Lakers' backcourt duo in every meaningful category.

Using last season's numbers, Bryant and Nash averaged a combined 40.4 points per game, 15.1 assists and 8.4 rebounds while shooting 48.1 percent from the field.

Williams and Johnson averaged 39.8 points, 12.6 assists, 7.0 rebounds and a combined 43 percent from the field during the same period.

Those numbers will certainly change considering there is no real way to predict how well Nash and Bryant or Johnson and Williams will play with each other, but at least the Lakers have the advantage of what may be the ...

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