How to Fix the Los Angeles Lakers Next Season

The Los Angeles Lakers set their sights straight on a title upon the additions of Dwight Howard and Steve Nash just one year ago. The San Antonio Spurs kicked them straight in the teeth in the first round of the playoffs after a see-saw regular season, and once more the Lakers are due for a busy summer. 

The question is, where should the front office begin its renovation project? They need to address serious problems at the guard position, but also must improve bench depth and athleticism. Not to mention adding another defensive forward who can rebound.

My list of priorities is as follows: re-sign Dwight Howard, lock down a point guard in free agency or via trade. Then, and only then, add another athletic forward. 


Why sign Dwight?

Howard has given the Lakers enough reason and leverage to feel comfortable heading into his free agency. Whether or not they re-sign D12, Los Angeles can make power moves during the summer months over the next two seasons. 

Howard will also inevitably have a fist full of great offers, although none matching what L.A. can provide monetarily. GM Mitch Kupchak has even already envisioned a spot for Howard's jersey in the rafters next to some of the all-time greats. 

Frankly, Howard's failure to embrace such gracious treatment and rise to his career potential raises red flags. Although he won't turn 28 until December, the franchise needs to demand more leadership from their still-rising star. 

Howard's 2012-13 regular-season numbers overstate how well he played throughout a rocky first year in purple and gold. The big fella scored, rebounded and made free throws below career averages. Such a downward trend shouldn't be ignored, especially for a big-bodied player who absorbs heavy wear and tear.

Yet he is too valuable for the Lakers to let walk. 

Look at Howard's in-season stats this way. His 12.4 r...

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