Imagining a Lakers Offense Built Around Steve Nash and Pau Gasol

The last eight months certainly haven't gone according to plan for the Los Angeles Lakers. The championship aspirations they carried into last season evaporated quickly as they struggled through injuries, coaching changes, disastrous defensive performances and an inability to get everyone on the same page. With Dwight Howard gone permanently and Kobe Bryant out for an undetermined but certainly significant portion of the season, the Lakers will have to reinvent themselves offensively.

As much as the Lakers struggled last season, the results on offense were more than respectable. Scoring an average of 105.6 points per 100 possessions, they finished the season with the eighth-most efficient offense in the league.

According to mySynergySports (subscription required), the Lakers had 7,659 half-court offensive possessions last season. Of those possessions, 1,978 were used on Howard post-ups, isolations or shots out of the pick-and-roll by Bryant. In case you don't have a calculator handy, that works out to 26 percent of their offense.

Those possessions, while generally effective, also required very little creativity and very little participation from their teammates. Without those two enormous offensive engines to drive their efficiency, the Lakers will have to focus on creativity, versatility and flexibility.

Luckily, the Lakers still have Steve Nash and Pau Gasol. Both players are on the wrong side of their primes, and Nash in particular is a shade of what he once was. But both players still have hugely versatile skill sets and the ability to complement each other in a variety of ways. It's easy to forget just what these two are capable of because so much of their time was spent fitting in around Howard's and Bryant's offensive possessions last season. A quick search of shows that Nash and Gasol played just 25 minutes together last season with neither Bryant nor Howard on the floor. 

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