The Los Angeles Lakers are on the verge of a blockbuster trade in which they would land one of the best players in the game, point guard Chris Paul. The reported three-way deal with the New Orleans Hornets and Houston Rockets involve Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom leaving the Lakers. What the Lakers are getting in Paul they saw with their own eyes in the NBA playoffs.
It took the Lakers six games to beat the undermanned Hornets because of the superb play of Paul. He sliced and diced his way around and through the Lakers' defense, nearly signlehandedly pulling off the series upset. In the Hornets' Game 4 win in New Orleans, Paul had 27 points, 13 rebounds, and 15 assists and pulled off this nifty pickpocket of Derek Fisher:
In his understated way, former Lakers' coach Phil Jackson said of Paul, "He made a lot happen out there," which may have been the understatement of all understatements. For the series, Paul averaged 22.0 points, 11.5 assists, and 6.7 rebounds per contest.
With all due respect to Derek Fisher, the Lakers have been weak at point guard for years, and the acquisition of Paul is the best possible way they could have addressed that need. The 26-yeard old Paul will fit right in to Mike Brown's defensive mindset, and should free up Kobe Bryant from having to occasionally take on opposing point guards on defense, as he tried with Paul at times during the playoff series.
Whether the Lakers are done making moves or not - Andrew Bynum is a nice starting point for a Dwight Howard trade, for instance - the addition of Paul should provide a much-needed injection of youthful energy into the Lakers' backcourt.
To discuss Paul on the Lakers, check out Silver Screen and Roll.