Why Steve Nash Is Under More Pressure Than Dwight Howard for 2012-13 L.A. Lakers

Los Angeles Lakers fans will be looking to Steve Nash and Dwight Howard to return the franchise to the NBA Finals and give cause for another one of those parades. That much goes without saying.

And while those fans may expect a bit more out of Howard given that he's in his prime and regarded as the game's best center, there will ultimately be even more pressure on Nash's shoulders.

Though his contract runs for three seasons, Nash will turn 39 before the trade deadline. Yes, he's in great shape. And yes, he still played at an incredibly high level last season. But you just can't be especially optimistic about a guy's durability at this stage of his career.

Maybe nothing will come of the back problems that occasionally nagged him last season, but there are any number of unforeseen issues that could emerge over the next three years, due to ordinary wear and tear if nothing else.

You don't have to be betting against Nash to acknowledge these kinds of risks.

It would be surprising if he isn't doing the same.

Whereas Dwight Howard could spend the next decade hunting rings with the Lakers, Nash will be lucky to do so for the remainder of his contract. Even if he can play out that contract, there's no telling how effective he'll remain as it nears its end. 

A gradually closing window of opportunity isn't the only thing weighing on Nash.

He'll also be charged with running an offense that needs to catch up with prolific scoring teams like the Oklahoma City Thunder, San Antonio Spurs and Denver Nuggets. The Western Conference is top-heavy with clubs that can score upwards of 100 points without blinking.

The Lakers are hoping Nash's legendary ability to make his teammates better will translate into a more well-rounded offensive attack, replete with a revitalized pick-and-roll game and opportunities for an improved corps of perimeter shooters.

Article Source: Bleacher Report - Los Angeles Lakers