Miami Heat forward Chris Bosh told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel on Friday that the new-look Los Angeles Lakers with key free agent additions Dwight Howard and Steve Nash have the best team in the NBA on paper. He was explicit, though, when he emphasized that it was only on paper:
"The Lakers, I think, right now, I mean on paper, they probably have the best team in the West and probably the league right now," Bosh said. "On paper. I'm saying on paper. But it's a lot, a lot, it's a long season. And the best team always isn't the one who starts out the season as the best team."
The NBA champion Heat understand that 2012-2013 is a new season, and that's what Bosh was pointing out.
But with the addition of a game-changing center like Howard to pair with Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol, the Lakers have gone from very good to once again being considered among the league's elite teams. Bosh and his teammates recognize the high talent level of their Western Conference rivals.
The Lakers will have to work hard to truly become what the rest of the league seems to think they are -- an NBA title contender. There are question marks such as back injuries to Howard and Nash as well as the chronic knee issues of Kobe Bryant to contend with.
Still, if the team can embrace the new Princeton offense and mesh well with one another, they will validate the words of Bosh and others who recognize just how dangerous they can be.
It's words like those from Bosh that begin to fuel rivalries.