LA Lakers: Amid Howard-Nash Hysteria, Lakers Upgraded Bench in a Big, Big Way

With the basketball world still reeling from the Los Angeles Lakers' blockbuster signings of Dwight Howard and Steve Nash, more credit must be given to Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak for executing peripheral moves that addressed the Lakers' most critical depth issues. 

Ranked dead last in scoring during the 2011-12 season, the Lakers' bench was in store for a huge overhaul if they wanted to compete on a championship level.

The team's vaunted starting five was backed up by a mish-mash group of misfits—hastily pieced together in the wake of the Chris Paul trade fiasco.

Backing up the legendary Kobe Bryant at SG was a first-year rookie from the College of Charleston.

Relieving SF Metta World Peace was the wildly inconsistent Matt Barnes—a shell of his former self after never quite recovering from a torn meniscus suffered in January 2011.

Playing third fiddle in the league's weakest PG rotation was a 21-year-old rookie from Michigan.

My, my how things have suddenly changed in Hollywood.

Orchestrating perhaps the greatest offseason haul of them all, Mitch Kupchak delivered not only two superstars to breathe life back into the Lakers organization, but acquired a collection of veterans and young talent to fill the glaring holes of a Lakers' bench previously on life support.

A side-by-side comparison of old versus new illustrates Kupchak's masterful piece of management:

Reserve Players Out Reserve Players In Troy Murphy Antawn Jamison Matt Barnes Jodie Meeks Luke Walton Chris Duhon Josh McRoberts Earl Clark


The new-look bench will further be bolstered by the returns of SF Devin Ebanks, PF/C Jordan Hill and PG Steve Blake.

It's your classic night-and-day scenario.

The Lakers' once exploitable weakness has suddenly transformed into a veritable source of strength.

Much has already been written abo...

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