If you want to see an example of a page that makes Laker-haters cringe, hope on over to ESPN’s “expert” predictions page for the Lakers. It’s rare to see that many people completely agree when it comes to predicting a team’s success in a yet-to-be-started season.
Interestingly, many of them bring up a flaw or two only to say that the flaw(s) will not stop the Lakers from winning.
Ron Artest is brought up a couple of times, and my favorite quote is from Chad Ford who said:
“I think they lost something when they essentially swapped Trevor Ariza for Ron Artest. Artest provides toughness and grit, but at a huge cost of stability. Nevertheless, even if Ronnie implodes, the Lakers may still have the goods to rule the West.”
John Hollinger is well known for his basketball analysis. I thoroughly enjoyed his summation of the Lakers chances this season:
“(…)the only West team that can beat L.A. is L.A.”
Sports Illustrated’s Ian Thompson agrees that the Lake Show will win the west, but declares that the not-yet-retired guys in Boston are going to take the finals. He explains his prediction when he says:
“Artest will improve the Lakers defensively at small forward, but the Celtics will be stronger defensively overall, enabling them to control tempo and overcome the Lakers’ likely home-court advantage.”
I also like what Thompson says about the chances of the Spurs in the west:
“Unless they’re a superior unit defensively, they won’t get out of the West because the Spurs are going to have a hard time outscoring the Lakers.”
I agree with Thompson’s analysis that “the Blazers are a long way from playing championship defense, and they don’t have the offensive firepower to outscore the Spurs” and “No. 1 pick Blake Griffin and a resurgent Baron Davis will nonetheless transform the Staples Center JVs into the best lottery team their side of the Mississippi.”
With all of this analysis, it’s making the season seem like it’s taking it’s sweet time starting, doesn’t it?