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The scouts break out their crystal balls for Sports Illustrated

Ian Thomsen at SI.com has polled six NBA advance and personnel scouts in preparation for the upcoming season as part of their season preview blowout. No surprise the Lakers are expected to win the top seed in Western Conference, and the expectation is they'll advance in the playoffs. Click here for the full feature, but I'll go ahead and excerpt the part people really care about- the Finals:

"Now it gets interesting:Crystal-ball-2

Lakers beat Boston
Lakers beat Cleveland
Cleveland beats Lakers
Cleveland beats Lakers
Boston beats Lakers
San Antonio beats Boston

Two votes for the Lakers, two for the Cavaliers and one each for the Celtics and Spurs.

"I like the Celtics' overall team, but I like the starting five of the Lakers better," said the scout who picks L.A. over Boston. "The Lakers will have the better overall record and the team with home-court advantage will win Game 7."

"I don't know if [acquiring] Shaq was a good move, but they might win it despite Shaq," said one of the experts who goes for Cleveland. "I mean, I don't think Shaq is going to necessarily be a problem or that they're going to be worse by any means. In the end, I just have a lot of faith in LeBron."

"Rasheed will focus in and give them one good year," said a voter who likes Boston to beat L.A. "He's not going to be a detriment in any way. I always thought he was one of the most talented players in the league, and he can draw on that to find a role in the classic Celtics sixth-man way. He'll be their Bill Walton this year."

"[Richard] Jefferson has played for good teams in the Finals," concluded the scout who picks San Antonio to upset the Lakers on its way to the championship. "There will be a drop there for the Lakers, they'll have that post-championship coolness, and [Ron] Artest is going to screw their stuff up. Putting him in a major media market was not a great idea."

 
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AK/BK -

Question off topic - sorry...

Any chance of a live game chat before the season actually starts?

These predictions come from scouts -- people who aren't yet good enough to be coaches or general managers. Why take them seriously. For all we know, they are exempt from the ban against using controlled substances. In short, who cares?

We are entering Season 2 of the new Lakers Dynasty. Period.

Let the prognosticators prognosticate. That's the stuff that sells issues and keeps people reading, arguing, and making brash predictions.

In the end, though, only one thing matters:

The road to the 2010 NBA Championship goes through the Lakers. Period. It's their title to win or lose, and I've got a good feeling about the former.

Go Lake Show!

Sure would be interesting to see WHY those 2 people think Cleveland can beat the Lakers in a 7 game series. I certainly can't think of anything that would even point to that being a possibility. The matchups, experience and coaching all favor the Lakers - so the Cavs advantage would be what exactly?

It's good to be underestimated.

3 things that trumps all of the other teams improvements (the Sheed deal is overblown and overrated.)

1. Bynum. BYNUM
2. Artest's toughness. I'll take our enforcer over any in the league. ANY.
3. Improved bench. More experience. More to prove. More competition. Lots and lots of talent.

The only picks I can understand is the Lakers or the Celtics with an outside shot for the Spurs. The Lakers should be the favorite simply because they won it all last year and they kept the squad in tact. The only major difference is Ron Artest for Ariza. Now as good as Ariza played in the playoffs – the Lakers did not win it because Ariza was THE guy. Artest is an upgrade defensively for defending the bulkier SF’s. Artest also has a better shooting percentage – and as Dunleavy mentioned, Artest is a guy that can carry a team if Kobe has an injury or is having a bad night.

The Celtics get second nod in my book – as much as I don’t like the Celtics – their core of KG, RuPaula, Allen and to a lesser degree Rondo and Perkins are back. Assuming they are healthy, that is a squad that showed it can win a Title.

The Spurs can get into the conversation because Duncan, Parker and Ginobli have been there done that as well. Jefferson should improve the Spurs but not enough to overtake the Lakers.

If KG stays healthy – and I think even Celtic fans will agree that is a huge concern – and with the addition of Rasheed the Celtics are an intriguing team. How will Wallace fit in? Kind of like Artest with the Lakers – will he or won’t he pull the team apart. I doubt it in either case. I also see Wallace benefitting from playing with better talent. Maybe he is a fossil and done, but I suspect not. The other issue with the Celtics assuming KG is his same old self from 2 years ago – is the loss of Posey and PJ Brown. I think there are 4 or maybe five other players that are not on the Celtics championship roster. They have more issues to work in than the Lakers.

The Lakers will need to work in Artest, but he is a much better option to make life difficult for RuPaula if the two teams meet again. Come on even 131 would have to agree Thriller – Dribble Dribble or what ever he calls him will be a better defensive option than Luke or Vlad. I also think Pau has improved since then. If Bynum is healthy and playing remotely close to the level he showed before being injured, the Lakers are that much better. There is also Shannon to better guard Rondo – so the matchups don’t quite benefit the Celtics as much. The C’s also no longer have Posey – a great defender and shooter of 3’s that I don’t see them being able to replace.


As far as Orlando goes, they were lucky KG was hurt, I think they will miss what Hedo brought. Vince Quitter is going to help that much. I am curious to see if they can sustain it or if they slump like most teams that make the Finals and then flame out.

The Cavs? LBJ is LBJ. But can an aging Shaq that will not, cannot defend the pick and roll be able to stop anybody? Will Mike Brown suddenly become a good coach? I seriously doubt it. That is why I pick the C’s and Lakers again. This time the Lakers get the chip and the C’s will start to fade as their aging core (other than Rondo) as the Lakers catch and then pass the Celts for all time NBA Championships.

Peace,
EagleBoy

The haters are hating - what else is new?

They prognosticate according to their WISH - not according to facts, talent or what should be experience.

They don't like the Lakers - they don't want the Lakers to win - so they put someone else ahead of us. Simple.

However - their wish does NOT negate our FACTS. Best starting 5. Best player on the planet. Bynum the Beast. Best bench. Best 6th man. Best coach.

Come on - get real.

We've got this again.

Sorry NBA.

I like how you think, Eagle Boy!

My question to those who didn't pick the Lakers:

Realistically, is Boston, Cleveland, or San Antonio going to better this year than Boston was two years ago?

Because that Boston team only beat LA 4-2, with 2 of the wins being very close games. And this years L.A. team is going to be significantly better than L.A. was two years ago. (Assuming relatively good health.)

I don't see how, at this point of the season, anyone can honestly pick any team other than the Lakers as the favorites.

The Celtics` intensity this year will be incredible, fueled by the anger of having had injuries rob them of banner #18 last year.

KG...Sheed...Perk...Rondo...House...Baby

If this years` Celtics were a movie---it would "TWELVE ANGRY MEN"!

I don’t see Cleveland even getting out of the east, but if they did- they don’t worry me as much as a fully healthy Boston or San Antonio. I think Orlando is way underrated in the east, they are the deepest team in the NBA after this offseason and no one is talking about that. I would rank Cleveland behind all other four teams. I think the Lakers will battle the Spurs in a tough series, Celtics over Orlando and the Lakers over Boston in the finals.

EagleBoy-

You are coming around. Your post are getting more and more realistic. Using common sense. I get if you dont think the Celtics are gonna win the East because of ?? or ?? but not because they are greenie weenies. Thats not a real logical reason. So Im glad to read your not using that.

I am concerned about KG but as you well know, even young health players(Bynum) can go down at any moment. And yes I know that the fact that KG is older makes it more likely for him to get hurt.

If I was a gambling man and Ive been known to drop a dime or two on a game once in a while I would say that if we dont have any major injuries ... we will be there in the Finals. Same goes for the Lakers in the West.

BTW Im watching KG right now as I type and .... HE'S BACK!!!

I have been a fan of Artest game since he came into the league. I’ve wanted Artest on the Lakers ever since he was going to be traded out of Indiana. It has been torture (like Kobe won his first titles only cuz of Shaq) to here all the talk like:

“Artest is going to screw their stuff up. Putting him in a major media market was not a great idea."

Where do these sheep get this? Artest isn’t a bad guy or bad teammate, he never has been. Artest was brought here to guard Melo, Bron, and Peirce, not to mention everything else he brings. The Ariza for Artest debate is dumb as well. I think Artest will put an end to all of it by December once he gets acclimated to the team’s systems.

I see the Fisher, Farmar, and Brown debate like this: Fisher is perfect as the starter and closer period. Farmar is much more polished and complete then that of Brown’s game. Brown is exciting at times, but I just don’t see him fitting into the offense as efficiently as Farmar. He dribbles way too much. He would be better behind Kobe as a quick scorer. The season will play itself out, and at the end we will know who is who.

Bynum looks good so far this preseason. That is great; I couldn’t be happier or more excited as a Laker Fan. I think he can make the All Star team this year. Saying that, I still think he’s the 3rd option behind Gasol. His time will come, he will be an all star for years to come. It’s just that he is not there yet like Gasol, in fact I still rather see Odom close the games till he proves otherwise.

IT IS GOOD TO BE A LAKER FAN!!!!!

AND: Luke is what he is; he is an efficient piece for the minutes he plays. He is only over paid by today’s standards, so why beat a dead horse.

KBlitz,

Jordan Farmar is much better than you give him credit. As said previously, and supported by others he should be starting ahead of D. Fish. Shannon Brown is not a PG, he is a combo or SG.

Give me Farmar over almost any PG except Chris Paul. Farmar is a winner, from Taft, UCLA and Lakers.

Mitch was wise to draft him.

Glad Arn Tellum is his agent.

Todd

131,

From what I have seen of KG - not that I watch the Celtics that much, but he does seem to be moving well. The key question is if he will hold up. I would have the same concerns if Kobe and KG switched places. Both work hard to keep their bodies right, and play all out every night. I just wonder if he will wear down as the season progresses. Does Doc limit his minutes? And is the knee sound enough to take the pounding he will give it. Would you agree, that the Celtics have a bit more to be concerned about? What about them having more players to work in. I honestly don't see this years Celtic squad being as good as the Championship team. I think Posey was one of the big factors in them waxing the Lakers. I argue the Lakers are better than the team that lost the Finals and the Celtics are maybe not as strong and have more questions to answer.

Peace,
EagleBoy

Rick-

I'd actually take the word of scouts very seriously. Not necessarily in this sort of thing (really, if it was a poll of head coaches it wouldn't be any more accurate, because so much can happen between now and April) but these are guys who see a TON of these teams, more regularly than the head coaches. One of the most interesting things we get to do is on occasion be seated next to some of these guys. They'll periodiacally be willing to share some information when you get to know them, and can be a great resource in terms of understanding what's happening on the floor and why.

Instead of just the Big 3 the emergence of Rondo and Perkins gives Boston the Big 5. With the addition of Wallace and Daniels to House, Davis and Scal they also have the best bench in the league and are the clear favorite to win the title. One bad landing in Utah last February by Garnett is the only thing keeping the Celts from their 3 peat.

Try to understand: By playing 3000 more career minutes and 106 more career games at age 31 Kobe has more than an extra season of NBA wear and tear on his body then 34 year old Ray Allen does. Factoring in their styles of play, Allen a wing player/ shoooter and Kobe a slasher, finisher at the rim it is pretty obvious that a breakdown in ability and or body is more likely to be seen sooner on Kobe than Ray Allen.

The Celtics age issue is merely a creation of Laker fans searching for a reason for them to not be afraid. The big question is can Boston become the first team to win 80 games in regular season NBA history.......

phred -

Pargo and Wafer did go on to success, but they hadn't had any before they rotten on the Lakers bench, which is why I included them.

If I was casting a vote, it would go for Coby Karl. Hated to see him go.

*make that "rotted"

Oy vey, I need to go home. It's been a long day.

"Give me Farmar over almost any PG except Chris Paul. Farmar is a winner, from Taft, UCLA and Lakers. "

Farmar over Deron Williams who embarrassed him in the 2008 Playoffs? Farmar over Derrick Rose who lit up Farmar's enforcer at UCLA (Darren Collison)
Farmar over Rondo? Only his mom would believe that.
Farmar over Jameer Nelson? Too funny.
Farmar over Agent Zero? Maybe blogging wise but no way on the court.
Farmar over Mo Williams? Now this needs to stop.
Russell Westbrook would eat Farmar alive defensively and is becoming better in all accounts and looks to surpass him in jump shooting.
D. Fish isn't a true PG neither and neither was Brian Shaw yet they were starting PG's.

Nick Van Exel is a better PG overall than Farmar.

Todd your visions of Farmar being an All-Star is just as ludicrous as saying Bynum is the number one option over Kobe now (even Laker Tom wouldn't go that far).

EagleBoy-

I dont agree. I think they are gonna be better then that year. The starting 5 are better. Sure the Big 3 are older but probably just as good. Both Perk and especially Rondo are much better.

I think our bench is also much better. Of course we miss Posey mainly on defense. But I think Daniels will be close on the defensive end but better on offensive. Posey mainly was a spot up 3pt shooter(Sheed will pick up slack) whereas Daniels is more of a slasher and scorer. Baby is better. He was only a rookie that yr. House is as good if not better now that he doesnt have to be the full time back up pt gaurd. Daniels will help out with that. PJ Brown we only had during the 2nd half of the season but I still think overall Sheed brings more to the table.

At the end of the day its hard to improve on a championship. Thats why I think it was risky for the Lakers to pick up Dribble Dribble, an unknown commodity, when they already had a team that won the championship. I think they can be better but whats the risk vs the reward. Time will tell.

"AND: Luke is what he is; he is an efficient piece for the minutes he plays. He is only over paid by today’s standards, so why beat a dead horse.


Posted by: NBA4ever | October 20, 2009 at 05:19 PM

Obviously a new guy.

I wish the Celtics a successful and healthy season.

I hope they beat Orlando and Cleveland for the ECF. Orlando because I don't want to see an DHoward, a healthy Nelson and a crazed Carter in the finals. Cleveland because I don't want to see Shaq at all.

Nothing would be sweeter than seeing KG's and Pierce's faces when Russell gives Kobe the MVP trophy in the Garden.

Oh, and the O'brien also.

Who'd they pick last year? My guess is that it wasn't the Lakers so consider the source.

"The Celtics` intensity this year will be incredible, fueled by the anger of having had injuries rob them of banner #18 last year." -RLC.


You can't get robbed of something you never had!

Wake up!! The reality is that you never made it back to the Finals to defend YOUR Championship.

"The big question is can Boston become the first team to win 80 games in regular season NBA history......."

Yup the Greenies can keep dreaming especially when Lebron will slam those Green fools back into reality with another blowout in Cleveland.

Pity though as much as Lebron-Kobe will be the only regret is we'll not be seeing those Green Weenies because Lebron will be sending those greenies into retirement.

OMG - at the beginning of this game, Kobe was taking Jackson to SCHOOOL!

Getting a little sloppy now, but Drew is looking like a BEAST.

Laker nation!! any links to the game?
i wanna see stephen jackson get burned by kobe

Hey Red's Bastard Child-

YOU SAID KOBE IS NOT CLUTCH. GUESS WHAT I FOUND.

You conveniently left out Kobe's clutch stats for 2003-2008 for the playoffs. Clutch =(24 seconds or less remaining, score tied to 2 points behind).

Kobe Bryant(2003-2008 clutch playoffs stats)
4\8 Fg% 50%

WHAT'S MORE CLUTCH THAN THE PLAYOFFS
By the way, 50% is best in the league for 2003-2008.

GUESS WHAT ELSE I FOUND.

82 Games.com defines clutch as 4th quarter or overtime, less than 5 minutes left neither team ahead by more than 5 points.

Kobe Bryant(2007-2008 clutch stats 5 minutes left)
Fg% 45%

Kobe Bryant(2008-2009 clutch stats 5 minutes left)
Fg% 46%

I like the vibe on here today. 131, Asterisk, Red.. you are all blogging good! Kudos to you all.

As for our team, I like Eagle boy's take.

I am not sure though if today's Celtics is better than the championship team 2 years ago. Sure Rondo and Perk have 2 years under their belt, but the big 3 are 2 years older as well, and people have seen signs of them slowing down last year.

And provided that they are better, I still believe that, either Orlando or Cleveland will bust them in the ECF. The Cavs are a much better team than last season. Orlando is deep. It's going to be a wild playoffs for the EC.

I can't believe I agree with Ex on this haha, jk.

In the end it's all about the games...predictions are predictions not set in stone.

Guy R,

Even if you add Kobe`s 4 of 8 in the playoffs...that makes his overall total 18 for 64, which is only .281% {the league AVERAGE was over .29% during those years}.

Also, we all know that one of his 4 playoffs FG`s came in Game 5 from `08...when the refs let him "hook" Pierce from behind {w/o blowing a whistle}, which led to his uncontested lay-up.

Dice8up,

There is no way Orlando or Cleveland will be able to hang with "Gang Green"!

Orlando will be a weaker team, after basically traded Turkoglu for Carter. Perkins gave Howard fits in the playoffs. Add a healthy KG and Wallace to the mix, and the Magic is without a prayer!

Cleveland has a cloud of uncertainty surrounding them due to the Delonte West situation. This is a very troubled guy, yet a key contributor to their success last year.

Shaq signed with the Cavs during the warm Summer. He will grow tired of the cold Cleveland winter by mid-January! Also, he`ll be 38 once the playoffs arrive, while the flat-footed "Z" will be 35, as he stands stiff as a statue shooting from 20 away from the hoop !

Folks, just curious... how serious is Pau's injury??

Is PJ resting him, or is he going to miss time in the season? :-(

I am ok with Fluke not being able to play in the opener, but we need Pau!!

Ron Artest leading with 8 assists is a good sign. He is not proving to be a ball hog. Now I wonder . . . are Kobe Bryant and Andrew Bynum really going at it for high scorer? I think Kobe has had enough. He upped Bynum by one point, but I think it is going to be a long season.

GOOoooooOOOOO LAKERS !!!

Hey Red's Bastard Child-

You said even if you add Kobe's 4 of 8 in the the playoffs... that makes his overall total 18 for 64, which is only .281%(the league AVERAGE was over .29% during those years).

WRONG AGAIN!

The league AVERAGE was .29% for the REGULAR SEASON Not for the playoffs. When It MATTERS THE MOST In the playoffs Kobe is the BEST!


DREW NEEDS TO KEEP PLAYING AROUND 30 MINUTES PER GAME


One thing that’s clear to me watching Drew develop is that once the season starts, he needs to keep getting the minutes he has played during preseason – around 30 minutes per game or thereabouts. Not only will that make the Lakers a bigger and better team in the short run but it will also accelerate Drew’s development and make the team much stronger by the time the playoffs arrive. Here’s why?
-
(1) Drew and Pau need to learn to play well together. With all the talk about the Triple Towers, it’s really the Twin Towers the Lakers need to get going. Drew and Pau have not really had much chance to be on the court together because of Drew’s injuries and the fact that Pau backs him up at center. And the only way they are going to learn to play better together is to play together. Period.
-
(2) Drew and Pau on the floor together are a nightmare matchup for other teams who have to decide which Laker big man to assign to their best defender, knowing that the other Laker big man is going to have a huge mismatch advantage that the Lakers are going to try and exploit it all game long.
-
(3) I think it is important to Drew’s development as a player that he plays 30+ minutes per game. He has clearly shown that he gets better the more he plays and he needs playing experience to make up for the fact that he only played a year and a half of high school before being drafted by the Lakers. Compared to other 21-year olds in the NBA or college, Drew really hasn’t played much basketball.
-
The Lakers are in the perfect situation as a franchise because they have the best talent and chance to win the championship today while still being able to keep an eye on tomorrow. That’s what building dynasties is all about. Andrew is at a stage right now that if you give him the chance, he can become even more of a force, especially defensively. Remember Drew doesn’t turn 22 until Opening Day.


Tom

LakerTom - I agree. I also think they're just really trying to get him in game shape, not so much having to do with physical conditioning but mental - the more confident he is to start the regular season, the more apt he is to remain healthy. The guy has gone through some real bad luck, it's important for him to trust that he can go up, that he can plant, spin, etc., without fearing that something will go wrong. I don't know that it's so much a conscious thing as just a matter of performing the same motions over and over, with confidence - the whole muscle memory thing is so important. I think he's getting there for sure. He still doesn't have a lot of elevation but that's okay - I don't think we need to see him playing too far off his feet.

okay, what kind of rousing drive the celtics from our blod, tails between their legs with humiliation strategy can I get away with? Cause i know this is a good idea.

There's still idiots who want to debate Kobe Bryant and how good he is?

We're the Champs. He was the Playoff MVP. Debate's over. Kobe wins.

LAKERS >>>> nba...

take that.

2010 champions

is it just me or is sasha starting to become really annoying?

if you pay close attention to his body language most of the time hes either pouting or sulking cause he's not getting the ball on offense.

i've noticed this more than a few times this preseason... i still remember at the end of the half in the first preseason game when artest got a rebound and sashas was wide open for a three in the corner... artest then held the ball to run the clock down for the last shot but you should've seen sasha flailing his arms up in the air and violently clappin his hands in a little hissy fit of rage.

if sasha would spend more time calming down and less time spazzin out than maybe he'd start making some outside shots again. most good outside shooters generally have calm personalities anyways so maybe its about time sasha takes a chill pill.


Why is it Boston fans always think that any player that signs with the Celtics instantly becomes the best player on the planet at that position ??? Wallace is 37 friggin years old, Rondo is good but there are plenty of better point guards in the league, KG is showing his age with the injury and all, Ray Allen has a sweet clean jumper but no way is he close defensively to some one like Kobe. We have the #1 shooting guard in the league, the #4 power forward in Gasol, the #6 Center in Bynum and this years 6th man of the year in Odom and NOW we have a top 10 defender at small forward and the #1 rated in toughness in Artest. These ratings were from NBA TV NOT ME. Boston fans are wishing for another title, but deep down they know their outclassed at every position by the Laker's, THATS why there on OUR blog!

The Hollywood maxim applies... nobody knows nothin'

It's why they play the games, but it's interesting that some scouts actually think a team other than the Lakers will win.

I especially like the guy that just believes in leBron. Because of the bronze medal?

San Antonio would have to take serious roids to make it half way. Orlando could catch fire, Howard's improved, nice pick ups in the off season.

Which leaves the Lakers over the Celtics who couldn't beat us last year even without Andrew.

It is inevitable.

THE DFISH DILEMMA

the other BIG concern i have this season is how many minutes will phil play dfish.

the way shannon and farmar are playing i seriously hope phil does not limit their minutes. the way their games are growing this preseason i dont see how phil can play either of those guys any less than 20 minutes a game and i dont see how that can be possible unless dfish only plays between 10-15 minutes a game.

i know one of phils main faults is being too loyal and sticking a little too long with his vets. case and point last year he also rode luke over ariza to the bitter end for most of the year until luke himself had to put an end to it... had luke never volunteered to come off the bench i doubt ariza would've started even in the playoffs.

i know dfish is clutch and we'll never forget those 3s he hit against orlando were HUGE and will forever leave an indelible mark in our championship run. unforgettable moment and thank you. HOWEVER i do worry though that because of that fans will keep giving him the benefit of doubt and just keep overlooking his glaring weaknesses and continue to give him a free pass for the rest of the year.

as clutch as dfish is (and BTW only when left WIDE OPEN) his liabilities still far outweigh his assets.. he is still by far the worst defensive point guard in the league and arguably the WORST overall perimeter defender in the whole league. he will continue to put our big men in foul trouble with his open door policy. he will continue to force the ball in the lane and try to draw fouls by throwing his body into seven foot defenders. he will go through very cold shooting stretches but keep throwing up bricks with kobe and gasol wide open.

i just hope he and phil will eventually find it within themselves to know when enough is enough,


If they are healthy, Boston will be very good. I agree with the scout who said that Rasheed has been one of the best players in the NBA over the years. He is incredibly talented. He was not a great leader, but he doesn't have to be in Boston.

Garnett is a stud. He gave the Lakers a real scare one year in the playoffs when he was a Timberwolf for god's sake. He is older now, and coming off an injury, so that is a question mark. But if he is healthy, the supporting cast is there. They don't just have a big three, they have a solid starting five and a very talented sixth man.

Experience is a real strength for this team, but of course the flip side is that they are old, and they risk guys getting injured, losing a step, wearing out.

Cleveland will be a handful as well. James is the one big star who is really in his prime - Garnett is still great but on the down side and Kobe has lost some of his explosivelness. If LeBron and Shaq can work things out, they can be very tough as well.

Whichever team comes out the East will face the Lakers. It should be a good Finals - a tougher series than Orlando gave the Lakers. I still like the Lakers to win it. I don't think the hunger in the Lakers will drop. Pau has learned how to win a championship. And they will work out the Artest thing, but it will take time. Dude's a piece of work.

I'd love to see an LA / Boston series. Boston has been a no show in the Finals too many times since the Bird era.


Tom D,


Excellent post. I also think the Celtics are the only team out there who could really challenge the Lakers. Rasheed was actually the perfect addition for them because he can sit out at the 3-point line, forcing the Lakers to send Drew or Pau out there to guard him. Like the rest of their team, though, age can suddenly rear its angry head and slew their hopes with a wave of injuries. I’m through wishing Paul Pierce doesn’t get injured. Wouldn’t bother me to see the whole team get Swine Flu.


Tom

131,

You say Daniels is about a wash to Posey on the defensive end. I disagree - Posey was a tough matchup for Kobe and guarded Kobe well. The C's had the combo of Pierce and Posey checking Kobe and it made it difficult for him to operate. That was one of the advantages that helped the C’s over the top and Daniels has a lot to do to prove you right. I do agree Wallace should help pick up the 3 slack. However, Daniels isn’t a player that has been shown to give Kobe trouble – like Artest, Raja Bell, Bowen and a few others. Maybe he will show that but to take that as a given or fact I think is a stretch.

I would also say it is too early to say that KG will be as good as he was 2 seasons ago. It is not because he is a C that I say that, it is because he is 2 years older, has had a serious knee injury. I don't think it is in his nature to throttle it down - so I would be concerned, based on the type of injury combined with his age and minutes played over a career. You could be right, this team could be better but the fact remains that the Celtics have a lot of parts that have been replaced since they won it. The big 3 are older and closer to the end of their careers.

The Lakers only real question is Artest fitting in. So far in the pre-season he has been fair to good. Before the Lakers swapped Artest and Ariza – I would say the vast majority of basketball GM’s coaches etc. would have taken Ron’s skills over Ariza. I don’t dismiss the notion it could blow up, I just don’t think Artest will drag the ship down, but to argue Ariza is a superior player, I don't buy it. I don’t see Wallace – another known wacko – bringing the C’s down. Too many veterans, too much great talent on the team, as I said before I think he will be better than what he showed in Detroit the last couple years. I see both teams coming out ahead with those additions.

I would also say you are not giving Pau credit for improving. Pau is a tougher better player than two years ago – and KG at best will be the same – or do you seriously think his game is better than two years ago when he was healthy? What about Bynum? No Bynum vs. a healthy Bynum. Big improvement my man – no matter how you slice it. The kid can play but he hasn’t really given the Lakers much. His presence at the very least will help offset whatever improvement Perk has made in the past two years. I think Bynum would be taken ahead of Perk by any GM in the league.

My main point is that the C’s have more questions and issues to resolve than the Lakers. I also would say they are more vulnerable to injury. Rondo, Perkins, Wallace, and Daniels cannot carry a team. Pierce is good but he has shown he isn’t good enough without KG to get them past the second round. Kobe and Pau can both carry a team – Pau led the Griz to the playoffs for goodness sakes. Artest can help carry a team as Dunleavy just recently mentioned. The Celtics have potential I agree, I really do, that is why I think they are the team to beat in the East. The Lakers have the trophy, they are bringing back the same squad, the core is a bit younger, Artest is viewed widely as an upgrade over Ariza, they have the greatest coach and the arguably the best player in the NBA. So yeah I say the Lakers are the favorites heading into the season, but as you say only time will tell – tell you that I am right and the Lakers are getting’ another ring!

Peace,
EagleBoy

EagleBoy-

I dont think Daniels is as good as Posey on defense. But last year we didnt even have Daniels! All Im saying it gives us another body. Im dont care about "Kobe stoppers" because there is no such thing. You cant stop Kobe or any of the great players. All you can do is make it tougher on them and make them work more for their shots and points.

Why is it that Kobe and Pau cant get injuried and the Big 3 can? Last time I checked Kobe and Pau are human. Even if Laker fan doesnt think so. KG didnt tear an MCL or ACL. He had bone spurs removed. Their was NO structural damage. Pitchers have spurs removed from their elbows all the time. They have "Tommy John" surgery and they come back stronger then they were before the surgery. I believe Ray Ray had spurs removed from his ankles the summer before he joined the Celtics and how did that work out?

I dont care what Dunleavy said ... if Kobe has a season ending injury you can stick a fork in the Lakers. Dribble Dribble or no Dribble Dribble. What team has he ever lead to anything? He couldnt even lead the Rockets last year. And at times they played worse with him in the game. Dribbling the clock away and launching bad 3 after bad 3 like he thought he was Larry Bird.

Tom K - Rasheed Wallace is 35 friggin years old. NOT 37. And everyone seems to forget what an important role PJ Brown played in 2008. PJ was 38 friggin years old. And Wallace is better than he ever was.

Eagle Boy - Daniels is an upgrade over Posey. He can guard 3 spots, and he can drive. But, I agree, in all objectivity, barring injury, I think the ONLY team that can challenge the lakers (aside from the lakers) is the CELTICS. I apprecitate your candid take on the matter. Perhaps it could seep into some of the delusion and hate I keep reading on this site.

Nice to see a civilized Lakers/Celtics discussion free from insults and shots below the belt. 131 & the Bostonians request that we of Laker Nation keep the talk to basketball discussion and leave out all the other crap. I'm down.

No shots from me, utz. I only like to hear that my team is respected. We respect the lakers, as well........but hoping Paul Pierce gets hurt.......not a classy move there at all. I actually hope the lakers and CELTICS are at full strength in the Finals. There is nothing like it in all of sports. And, at the end of the day, 25 years later, maybe koME and Pierce can write a book like Magic and Larry did. Peace

Heh...he gets an MVP, he learns to trust his teammates, he gets a Finals MVP to boot, yet he's still KoME.

I really shouldn't hate. Until McHale gave y'all KG and you traded for Ray, KoME was your MVP, too. Unless my ears lied on me during that 2007 game.

Okay utz, I'll call him Bryant. But, McHale did not GIVE us KG - it costs 5 players (Al Jefferson and Ryan Gomes START for MN), and 2 draft picks which essentially crippled us this year - we had to take Lester Hudson with pick #58. You want to talk THEFT - Pau Gasol for Kwame Brown and a brother to be named later - that is theft!!

""I don't know if [acquiring] Shaq was a good move, but they might win it despite Shaq," said one of the experts who goes for Cleveland. "I mean, I don't think Shaq is going to necessarily be a problem or that they're going to be worse by any means. In the end, I just have a lot of faith in LeBron.""

I think Gatorade puts a hidden chemical in their product that causes anyone of lesser intelligence to become a LeBroniac if they drink enough of their oddly flavored salty sugar water.

"A lot of faith in LeBron"? For what?

Getting swept by the Spurs in the Finals?

Winning the bronze medal?

Personally losing the Eastern Conference Finals to the Celtics in 2008?

Losing to Orlando in 2009 and walking off court without shaking hands?

Just ridiculous.

Blake Griffin is going to be a better player than LeBron James. He is just as gifted athletically, is more intelligent, and has a FAR better attitude and work-ethic.

In three years people are going to look back at all this King James nonsense shake our heads and chuckle.

This whole thing is stupid.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!!

Lakers Today... Lakers Tomorrow... Lakers Forever.

GO LAKERS!!!!


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