LA Lakers: Why the Lakers Should Pursue Chris Paul, Not Dwight Howard

The Lakers are back in a place they haven't been in since 2003: A team in flux after a surprising second round exit and in need of some drastic upgrades.

Like those Lakers who were fresh off a three-peat, this team needs something to stay among the contenders and balance the need to end Kobe Bryant's career on a good note while planning for the future.

The answer lies not in Orlando, but in New Orleans.

Chris Paul should be the Lakers' No. 1 priority because the Lakers have always built around great guards, not big men.

The greatest Lakers are Magic Johnson, Bryant, Jerry West, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Shaquille O'Neal, Elgin Baylor. Besides Kareem and Shaq, all of them are guards and forwards who made the team better having the ball in their hands to create on the perimeter.

As good as Dwight Howard is, he's not offensively as good as Shaq, Kareem or Wilt Chamberlain. He'll add a defensive toughness to the Lakers, but their biggest concern isn't the interior. Dallas showed the world that the Lakers have old guards who can't defend the perimeter or slashing point guards.

The NBA is currently a point guard league. Nearly every contender has a top flight point guard and two of the last three No. 1 overall picks have been point guards (Derrick Rose and John Wall). This year's draft is following suit with Duke PG Kyrie Irving projected as the No. 1 overall pick.

Howard is one of the best defensive players in the post and is a slight upgrade over Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol. Yet, if Howard comes in with Derek Fisher, Bryant and Steve Blake giving him the ball, his role is virtually no different than Bynum or Gasol.

Shaq, Tim Duncan, Moses Malone and Hakeem Olajuwon are the only big men in the last 30 years who were centerpieces to a title, and they benefited from great, young perimeter players surrounding them. Howard wouldn't find that in LA, and he'd feel like he's back in Orlando except...

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