Lakers acquire Dwight Howard: What it means for the Western Conference and NBA

Since the league has now officially approved the 4-team trade between the Lakers, 76ers, Nuggets, and Magic, the NBA has once again made the upcoming season that much more interesting. Power teams are beginning to take form all over the NBA, with the Lakers, Thunder, Heat, Nets, Celtics, and Bulls. In regards to this 4-team trade, the biggest headline without question is that fact that Dwight Howard is now a Los Angeles Laker. The Lakers acquiring Dwight Howard has, without a doubt, made the team better and more dynamic as well.

People will definitely argue that Dwight Howard is not that much of an upgrade from Andrew Bynum, since they are considered by many to be the top two big men in the NBA. Although, Dwight Howard fits better with this team because he is more athletic and a bigger defensive presence in the paint in comparison to Bynum. The Lakers will have a team that will be able to run more with Howard and Steve Nash as the point guard.

Prior to Dwight Howard landing in Los Angeles, it was clear that the Oklahoma City Thunder were the best team in the Western Conference. The Lakers have not only put themselves in the conversation but they have pulled ahead of the Thunder as the best team in the Western Conference. The Thunder do not have anybody that can shut down Howard and at the same time the Lakers can not shut down Durant. A major reason why the Lakers are a little ahead of the Thunder is because Howard's defensive presence in the paint will cover up for the team deficiencies on the perimeter. Even though, Nash could be considered a defensive liability and Kobe is not what he used to be, the Lakers now have someone who they can depend on to alter and block shots consistently in Howard.

In looking at the NBA, the are many teams who have upgraded this offseason and made great moves. The Miami Heat, without a doubt, have to be the number one team heading into next season after winning the NBA championship. The Lakers have definitely jumped up to the number two spot with Howard and the Thunder at three because of their young talent as well as their experience. The Celtics and Nets have made some good moves this offseason and they would probably be a toss up as the number four and five team in the NBA. If Howard was still an Orlando Magic, then the Lakers would probably be behind the Thunder, if not, maybe even tied with the Boston Celtics. Dwight Howard becoming a Los Angeles Laker is a major upgrade not by talent, but by him being the better fit for the Lakers as a team right now.

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