L.A. Lakers: Revamped Bench Will Be Critical to 2013 NBA Title Dreams

Mention of the Los Angeles Lakers is more likely to conjure images of Dwight Howard and Steve Nash than Jodie Meeks and Jordan Hill.

You might not even know what Jodie Meeks looks like.

And that's okay–you will soon enough. The real genius of GM Mitch Kupchak's offseason was what he was able to accomplish under a radar transfixed by the superstar additions to the starting lineup. Los Angeles needed an improved bench going into this season, and it got one.

The most obvious addition was Antawn Jamison, a former All-Star who is looking to play a reduced role for a winner after spending his last few seasons playing prominent roles for losing teams. The 36-year-old still has something left in the tank, and he's going to make the most of it.

Jamison provides a scoring punch that was sorely lacking on the Los Angeles bench last season, and he'll be all the more effective when given the opportunity to play alongside big men like Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol.

Howard's ability to draw extra defensive attention created all sorts of opportunities for spread-4 Ryan Anderson during the last couple of years, and it will do the same for Jamison.

Meeks will help on the scoring front as well, giving the Lakers another perimeter shooter who can spread the floor along with Jamison and back-up point guard Steve Blake.

Whether Steve Nash and Kobe Bryant are breaking the defense down or the Lakers' post-scorers are getting double-teamed, having second-unit guys who can hit the open three will make this team a far more consistent offensive threat.

L.A. won't have to rely on superstars quite so much, even though it now has plenty of them.

It also won't have to worry if one of those stars is sidelined for a period of time.

A catastrophic season-ending injury never does favors for anyone's title chances, but run-of-the-mill injuries won't doom ...

About the Author