NBA Playoffs Time!

The NBA playoffs have begun and I was considering writing about the various matchups that are taking place, I think myself, and most basketball fans alike have their minds set on one match up and one match up only:  Kobe Bryant and the LA Lakers vs LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavs.

 

LeBron James, Kobe Bryant

LeBron James, Kobe Bryant

 

 

The stage is set for what would be an epic battle, and likely a series that would make it official… who is taking the torch from Michael Jordan as the best basketball player?  My opinion is that the Cavs will likely sweep through the east, or come close and find themselves in the finals.  With Kevin Garnett out for the duration of the playoffs, it seems nobody in the east stands in the way of the potent Cavs.  They boast the best defense in the league, and a solid offense led of course by LeBron.  His role players include Zydrunas Illgauskas, Delonte West, Ben Wallace, Daniel Gibson, and Wally Szczerbiak.  They are led by coach of the year Mike Brown.  

In the west, the LA Lakers, who are in my opinion the best, and deepest team in the NBA are poised to make it back to the Finals this year, hopefully with a different outcome than last year’s embarassment dealt to them by the Boston Celtics.  Kobe Bryant, looking to silence critics saying he can’t win a ring on his own, would like more no more than to solidify himself as one of the best players in NBA History… that title will not be given to him until he does it without Shaq.  

Kobe, two games into their first series is accounting for nearly 41% of all of LA’s points, by way of assists and his personal points.  This is hardly the same selfish Kobe fans saw for the first 5+ years of his career, he has matured and is now making players around him better, the way the truly elite players do.  With Andrew Bynum back in the mix, the Lakers are by far the most talented team in the NBA in my opinion.  

After pulling off one of the most lop-sided trades in NBA History, the Lakers now have Pau Gasol as Kobe’s #2 guy.  Pau would be the best player on 80% of NBA teams, combine a guy like that with Kobe’s irrefutable offensive and defensive talent, and you have a 1-2 combo much like the Pippen\Jordan combo that brought so many rings to the Bulls in the 90’s.  That is of course, if they can work as a team.  Last year in the Finals, we saw Kobe struggling to get production out of such players as Gasol, Odom, and Vujacic.  

 

One of the best duos in NBA history, Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen

One of the best duos in NBA history, Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen

 

 

This year, I do feel things will be different for LA.  They are a year older, much hungrier and far more potent with a healthy Bynum.  The stage is set for what will go down as one of the more memorable matchups in NBA History.  The two best players in the league, LeBron 24 years old, and Kobe Bryant 30 years old.  It’s amazing Kobe is only 30 years old, he seems like he’s been in the NBA for a few decades now.  LeBron on the other hand, is younger, more physically dominant, and in my opinion are superior player and team mate.

With LeBron being a free agent after this year, he would like to do nothing more than to earn his first, and possibly many to come, NBA Title.  He has said he’d like to be the first billionaire athlete in the world.  With the entire world watching him in the NBA Finals, what better way to prove he is worth the cash.

This possible matchup, while likely, is never a shoe in.  Although these two teams are by far the best on paper, a sleeper team could always sneak up and shock the world.  That, however, is something I sincerely doubt will happen.  

 

 

The trophy all NBA players dream of holding will be handed out again shortly...

The trophy all NBA players dream of holding will be handed out again shortly...

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~ by yamar2001 on April 22, 2009.

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