The NBA Playoffs get underway tomorrow and everyone is expecting either the Cavs or Lakers to walk away as NBA Champions. With KG going down, most people have given the Boston Celtics very little chance of repeating. I agree. KG is the Celtics’ heart and soul and even though Paul Pierce is the best player on that team. their defense will be too weak and offense too unreliable for them to contend with Cleveland.
Speaking of Cleveland, they are the best team in the NBA. Period. They aren’t guaranteed to win the title, because the best team does not necessarily win it all, but I have them as the heavy favorites to win the crown. I don’t want to talk about the Cavs, though. Everyone knows about them.
Maybe its the East coast bias on ESPN, but I haven’t been hearing much about the Lakers except that everyone expects them to challenge for the title. However, let’s make this clear: THE LAKERS ARE POSERS
- Kobe isn’t good enough. Not many times has that phrase been said, but he still needs to become more of a team player. He’s averaging less than five assists a game and that isn’t good enough. LeBron? He’s averaging over seven assists per game and is shooting a better FG% (48.9 for Lebron vs 46.7 for Kobe). If Kobe ever wants to win the championship with him as the leader of the Lakers, he needs to distribute more.
- Andrew Bynum. He’s only had 4 games back since his injury and that is not enough to time to re-acclimate himself in the Lakers’ lineup. Chemistry doesn’t just appear and having played only four games since January, Bynum will likely have trouble readjusting to the lineup. Yes, he has played fairly well in those four games, but also realize that those games were meaningless for the Lakers. Bynum didn’t have to face the pressure of making every play correctly like he will face in the playoffs.
- Trevor Ariza just isn’t good enough to play significant minutes on a championship caliber team. He shot 31.9% from 3-point range and just barely averaged more assists than turnovers (1.8 to 1.1). On top of that, he only averaged 4.9 rebounds per game. For a starting small forward, that is not good enough. If the Lakers want to have any chance at all, he has to pick up his game and as a young player, he’s going to get worse under pressure if anything.
- Finally, there is age as every year Kobe, Gasol, Lamar Odom, and Derek Fisher are a year older. As seen with KG’s injury, as players get older, they get injured easier . Gasol is 28. Odom 29. Kobe 30 and Fisher is 34. Now, that isn’t terribly old, but it’s old enough that the grueling season will wear on them and as the intensity of each playoff game builds, so will the impact on their bodies. With each game, they will wear down and become less effective.
Now those reasons don’t mean that the Lakers won’t win the West. They may still since no other team has the superstars that the Cavs, Celtics, Magic, or Lakers have (a reason to doubt their record some as well – the other 3 are all in the East). However, if the Cavs and Lakers meet in the final, expect a quick series. Ditto with the Magic and L.A. Simply put, the Lakers are a strong team, but compared with the powerhouses in the East, they aren’t good enough.