who do you think we will win the western conf. finals this year.
Kobe is still hungry as ever to cement his legacy. Artest, Gasol, Bynum make arguably the best frontcourt in the league. And Odom off the bench is arguably the best 6th man. If Morrison or Vujacic can get hot, they are gonna be better then last year. All Fisher, Farmar and Brown have to do is combine to play OK enough to not be totally exposed which I believe they will. Even Laker haters have to admit they are the favorites.
Spurs... They have a ton of experience. Offensively they have too many weapons plus they are a solid defensive team as well. They don't have a weakness. There bench is very very solid. Parker is way better than Fisher. Duncan is better than Gasol. McDyess can frustrate Bynum due to his experience. The Spurs bench is definitely better than the Lakers. Kobe is better than Ginobli but not by as much as peopel think. Artest vs. Jefferson is pretty even but I would give a slight edge to Artest. Overall Kobe won't be able to do enough to beat the Spurs. Kobe will wear down because he will have to spend a lot of energy guarding Ginobli&orJefferson.
I say LA Lakers will win because they are flat out better than the rest of the NBA right now. So much talent and arguably the best coach/mind of all-time in basketball with all the talent they have will get them wins
I also think they'll play the Trail Blazers, yep you read it right. Andre Miller is just what they needed. He will have a Chauncey Billups like impact with the team and they have alot of talent and depth, that I think will break out.
Lakers are still getting better as a whole, This is not like the Spurs where you have all vets fighting for that last one. The Lakers outside of fisher are fairly young/ Even Kobe could be improving in ways like Jordan did in his early to mid 30s. More guys like the bench are knowing their roles. They have gotten tougher. Ariza may be miss to some degree but at this point in his career you cant run the offense through him and you can do that for Artest and if you look at this team without Kobe they are still a playoff team. They are that deep.
I think that the Spurs and Lakers are going to be the two best teams and right now I think I would go with the spurs because I think they have more depth than the Lakers but it could really go either way and I would envision it as a 7 game series
The match-ups look like this
PG Tony Parker/George Hill vs. Derek Fisher/Farmar/Brown: advantage Spurs
SG- Ginobili/Mason Jr./Finley vs. Kobe/Vujacic: advantage Lakers because Kobe is the best player in series although Spurs have better depth
SF- Richard Jefferson vs Artest : slight advantage Lakers
PF- Duncan vs Gasol: still slight advantage Spurs
C- Mcdyess??? vs Bynum: advantage Lakers
The Spurs do have a lot of depth in the post with guys like Dejuan Blair, Marcus Haislip (supposedly improved a lot in Europe), Matt Bonner, Theo Ratliff, Ian Mahinmi
Other teams in the West that could contend are the Mavs, Nuggets and Trailblazers as all 3 teams I believe improved by adding guys like Marion, Ty Lawson, and Andre Miller and I really believe that the top 5 in the west this year is as good as it has been in a Long time
Spurs over the Lakers
Spurs are one of the few teams that have plenty of big men to go against Bynum, Gasol, Odom.
PG, bench they have the edge, also Poppovich has beaten Phil Jackson in a series already something only a handful of guys have done.
Artest is not better than RJ have u heard the Rockets players they said he's not quick enough to guard guys like he used to be obviously RJ is one of those guys. RJ has plenty of big game experience too.
Age wise Parker is younger than Fisher, RJ is younger than Artest. Bynum is the youngest starter on both teams but he's been hurt the most the last 2 years and will probly be the least valuable esp. w/Odom resigning.
54 wins with Ginobli playing half the year and now add RJ, McDyess, Blair, Ratliff and younger guys getting more experience. The playoffs showed everyon can play with the Lakers but where have the Lakers improved?
Don't sleep on the Nuggets and Blazers adding Lawson and Miller helps but they both need one more vet. big PF to play some defense its definately not Kmart or Aldridge.
Btw the Mavs aren't an elite team they improved at SF but they are getting older, Dirk is a great player the rest of the team are not what was Marion's 3pt % last year. When Drew Gooden is your post up threat your in trouble.
Mavs will get blown out by the Spurs this year assuming Ginobli,Duncan are healthy.
I'd take the Jazz over the Mavs if everyone returned this team took it to the Lakers 2 years ago.