Originally written on MyTeamRivals.com  |  Last updated 8/26/12
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 The Los Angeles Lakers have been busy this off-season. With big name acquisitions, like Dwight Howard and Steve Nash, the Lakers are now the favorites in the Western Conference for five reasons: 1.      Defense Lakers head coach Mike Brown is excited his new starting 5 happens to be the best center in the NBA. Not because of the measly 20.6 PPG Howard averaged last season, but because Dwight Howard, aka Superman, is the best defensive player in the NBA. Howard has been selected to the all NBA Defensive team five times, and won three consecutive NBA Defensive Player of the year awards, from 2009 to 2011(possibly four consecutive had Howard been at 100% this past season). His presence in the paint is reminiscent of Shaq in the late 1990s and early 2000s, dominant. In the second round of the 2012 NBA Playoffs, the Thunder took the series 4-1 over Los Angeles. Oklahoma City averaged 41.2 points in the paint per game. That is a significant number, and it wasn’t just the Thunder big men:...
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