Projecting Lakers with Nash

Point guard makes L.A.'s and Kobe's numbers go up ... on paper

Updated: July 5, 2012, 2:30 PM ET
By Bradford Doolittle | Basketball Prospectus
Steve Nash, Kobe BryantMark J. Rebilas/US PresswireSteve Nash and Kobe Bryant look good on paper, but can they make it work on the court?

In some ways, our notion about what a championship window looks like has changed over the past five seasons. The concept -- championship window -- became an oft-discussed idea back in the summer of 2007, when the Boston Celtics acquired Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen to form a powerful new core trio, albeit one that appeared to be long in the tooth. How big was Boston's title window? One year? Two? Five years later, we're still asking that question.

Between the Celtics hanging in contention, the San Antonio Spurs posting the best record in the league last season and the Mavericks winning the 2010-11 championship, it seems like once-great teams are having plenty of success by keeping aging cores intact. That's been true as well for the Los Angeles Lakers, the league's second-oldest team according to average age in 2011-12. Despite coaching changes and personnel hits, Kobe Bryant & Co. have won the fifth most games in the NBA over the past two years, and advanced to the Western Conference semifinals both times.

Of course, that's not good enough for a franchise that has won 16 championships. The Lakers might have been the third seed in the West last season, but they had the same record as the Memphis Grizzlies and were just one game better than the city's perennial 'B' team, the Los Angeles Clippers. With Bryant 16 years into his Hall of Fame career, you had to wonder about the Lakers' championship window. That is, unless something drastic were to happen.

By landing Steve Nash in a sign-and-trade deal on Wednesday without giving up any active players, the Lakers might have propped that window open for another year or two. But make no mistake, the Nash acquisition is no guarantee that Los Angeles will be able to go toe-to-toe with the Oklahoma City Thunder over the next couple of seasons.