The Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat have been established as favorites to represent their respective conferences in the NBA Finals, and if the predictions come true it would likely be one of the most-viewed series in NBA history.
There would be no shortage of story-lines in a series between the teams, and although Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade, and LeBron James will play the role of headliners, the most intriguing match-up may be between Pau Gasol and Chris Bosh.
Gasol and Bosh share the same power forward position on the court, but that may be as far as the similarities go, as each player affects the game in very different ways for their teams.
Bosh is more of a perimeter-oriented player and is just as comfortable shooting from 18 feet extended as he is closer to the rim.
Gasol stands 7'0'' tall, which is roughly three inches taller than Bosh, and the bulk of his work is usually done closer to the basket.
Both players favor a finesse style as opposed to brute, physical play and both Bosh and Gasol are considered to be two of the more fundamentally-sound players at their positions.
Bosh averaged 24 points per game and 10.8 rebounds while shooting 51.8 percent from the field last season as a member of the Toronto Raptors, while Gasol averaged 18.3 points per game and 11.3 rebounds, while shooting 53.6 percent from the field.
Gasol averaged fewer points than Bosh last season, but his numbers were accumulated as the second scoring option on his team behind Bryant. Bosh, on the other hand, was the unquestioned leader of his Raptors' team.
If the Heat and Lakers meet in the Finals next year, most observers would consider this match-up to be mostly even. But there are some advantages both players have that could make their performances stand out.
Gasol was at his weakest in last season's playoffs when he was forced to defend smaller, quicker players on the perimeter, and Bosh fits into this category.
The Phoenix Suns and Boston Celtics both succeeded in drawing Gasol to the perimeter, and then simply dribbling past him on their way to the rim.
In some cases Gasol's length made it possible for him to recover in enough time to alter his opponent's shot, but this seemed to be the opposition's best approach against Gasol.
Although this was a successful strategy in attacking Gasol, it was one of the few available to opponents, because truthfully Gasol may be one of the better post defenders in the NBA.
Gasol's length makes him a natural deterrent in the post, but along with his size Gasol also possesses some of the best defensive footwork in the NBA.
If Bosh can cause trouble for Gasol on the perimeter, then the same rule applies when Bosh is faced to defend Gasol's offensive array in the paint.
Bosh has never had the reputation as a defensive player and that has followed him since his days as a player at Georgia Tech, but he is not as bad as his time in Toronto might suggest.
However, Gasol is bigger than Bosh and his ability to finish with either hand at the rim is something that Bosh would be powerless to defend.
Gasol also has a perimeter jumper which extends to about 15 feet, and once his arms are fully extended there are few defenders in the league who can actually block his shot.
I would give Gasol the overall edge as a player because he is a better defender, he may be more fundamentally sound, and the experience he has garnered playing beside Bryant is not something that is easily reproduced.
Gasol was always a good player, but once he was paired with Bryant his status in the league was elevated, and for the first time in his career, Bosh has teammates who are the same caliber of player as he is.
Only time will tell if Bosh can evolve his game in the same manner as Gasol since he will no longer be the primary focus of his team's offense. If he can, then a possible Heat-Lakers Finals will be all the more interesting.
Personally give me Bosh i watched every Raptor game last year so I might be biased but Bosh is a beast and is only 26 and had 24 and 10 on a terrible Raptors team last year
But Gasol played second option to Kobe so who knows what numbers he would put up on a team like Raptors
Bosh did have better statistics, but they are skewed due to the fact that he was the ONLY option with little else surrounding him. I would take Gasol, you know what your getting with him, he can be a big factor without seeing it in the numbers. He was like Bosh when he was with Memphis, the ONLY guy, and he notched some good numbers there.
If Bosh can produce in an offense where he is the 2nd or 3rd option, he will make strides at being a better player, but this has yet to be seen...It's a no-brainer at this point, GASOL wins out.
I dont think its a no-brainer and the Raptors didnt only have one Option they were a good offensive team just a terrible defensive one Bargnani put up like 17 9 and Hedo even though he sucked when he played deccent was a threat
The Lakers matching up against Miami in a best of 7 final is intriguing and I feel the Lakers just match up a bit better as Kobe can guard D-Wade, you can put Artest on LeBron and then Gasol and even Bynum can match up against Bosh as Miami's C will not really be a major scoring option.
^^^17 and 9. try like 17 and 6 as the second best big. and bosh could only put together 10.8 rbs. kg in minnesota showed what an actual rebounder does when put as the only option. gasol byfar. the physicallity alone seperates the two. similar to how it was for gasol going into the 08 finals vs. kg. hell even times this year. bosh isn big or tough enough.
Actually when Gasol was basicly the only option in Memphis he couldnt average 10 boards.
The lakers individual defense is so underrated in kobe and artest u have two of the games best ono on one defenders gasol and bynum could muscle on bosh and plus u got candy man coming of the bench who is an excellent defender as well i love the lakers chances to threepeat!!!
gasol wasnt surrounded by good rebounders in memphis as the man. wasnt able to use his length the way he does now. not to mention the impact kobe has had on pau is going to be greater than lebron/wade can with bosh.