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  1. #1
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    The team everyone seems to be pushing aside as contenders

    First of all, I'm a Raptors fan so that's out of the way.

    That aside, I personally think that people are greatly underestimating the LA Lakers as serious contenders if not favorites after the Miami Heat this season. Some of the things I'm about to say you may not agree with and that's fine, just throw a comment below and a discussion on it should begin.

    First of all, in my opinion, if the man remains healthy, I believe that Andrew Bynum is the best NBA center in the league as an overall player. If anyone has been watching Drew the past few years when healthy, the man is a monster in the paint on both sides of the court, on defense and on the boards. Although he obviously isn't Dwight Howard on defense, his offense is far superior and isn't reliant as much on put-backs and others creating for him and is a better FT shooter. The man has baby hook from both sides, has a decent short range jumper, has a moves going both ways and doesn't need to finish with a dunk in order to be effective like Howard tends to more often then not.

    If Bynum stays healthy, they have a 20-10-2 center that can create for himself in the post and can anchor the defense.

    Next, people seem to be sleeping on Pau Gasol which baffles me. From a skill level standpoint, no big man in the league is more skilled then Pau, it's as simple as that. The man is a 20-10 type player that can spread the floor which makes Bynum that much more effective and he hits the boards hard and alters shots.

    Lastly, you have Kobe Bryant. The man's legs are finally healthy to the point that he doesn't solely have to rely on his outside game for buckets. Although he has struggled the past few games, he is still a top 5-7 player and top 3-5 scorer in the league and provides the Lakers with that clutch jean at the end of games.

    Past the big three, you have a plethora of role players. Metta World Peace is playing very well now that he has been established as more of a low post threat and his defense has bounced back to nearly the same level that made him so highly sought after a couple years ago. Matt Barnes is playing exceptional defense and with a year to gel with these guys that he didn't have last year, this team, along with the youth that Ebanks brings at the 3 for them, solidifies their perimeter defense.

    After those five key guys, you have Josh McRoberts, who can block some shots, finish at the rim and scrap on the court, Troy Murphy (who has shown he can grab boards and spread the floor in his career), Steve Blake (aka corner three ball), Fisher (experience and toughness on the defensive end and knows where the ball needs to go) and Kapono (situational shooter ala Kyle Korver).

    The personnel alone that they have make them a top three team in my opinion but if people have been watching their games, the team has really improved defensively, probably due to that being Mike Brown's specialty in his coaching career. They rotate hard, have 3-4 guys crashing the boards and have the players to give them a top flight defense (although obviously not in the Bulls' league on that end).

    Most people seem to dub Miami, OKC and the Bulls as the three legit contenders for the title this year. A few speculate that Dallas could but they are finally showing their age at certain positions and their time will come again in 2012 when Deron and Dwight potentially team up with Dirk.

    From these, I believe that the Bulls do not have the inside scoring presence to succeed and beat the Heat. Boozer downgrades their defense and plays more in the midrange, which eliminates a guy off of the offensive boards and limits their second chance opportunities when he's in the game. Rip Hamilton is not enough of an increase in order to be able to beat the Heat in the playoffs as come playoff time, Rose is the only one that can trully create anything off the dribble and stimulate the offense for that team besides what Luol Deng can do in terms of creating for himself on that end. Their defense is superior but I just don't think they have enough.

    OKC is a team that is loaded with talent but I'm not sure if they have the right pieces. I believe that Westbrook hurts that team more then he helps it in the playoffs because he doesn't play under control and his bad decision making as a point guard essentially can cost them games on his own since he's at the head of the machine. Additionally, outside of Durant, Westbrook and Harden, the team really doesn't have anyone who could score, which puts pressure on those three to produce each night and puts them at a great disadvantage if the opposing team in the playoffs can eliminate on of their big two by way of a lockdown defender such as a Tony Allen. They are very close but I don't think they can beat the Lakers in a seven game series because the Lakers are just much more balanced and role oriented as a team.

    Finally, you have the Heat. I have nothing to say about them since everyone knows what they're about. They are the favorite but I believe the Lakers should be considered right after them and with their combination of size, scoring, defense and coaching, as the biggest threat to their championship chances.
    Last edited by Il Mago50; 01-03-2012 at 01:56 AM.
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  2. #2
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    The Lakers are always a contender for the NBA Championship in my opinion with players like Kobe, Gasol, Bynum and Fisher.

  3. #3
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    You have no idea what you're talking about, Dwight has created more baskets for himself than any big in the league last season that scored over 20ppg... As for the Lakers being overlooked, they're a good team, but not favs.

    Super Bowl LIII: Los Angeles Rams vs Jacksonville Jaguars

  4. #4
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    Bynum has been beasting. If only he could stay healthy..

  5. #5
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    If Bynum continues to play at this level and stay healthy, we have a shot for sure. No team really has our size... but we need a pg so badly. Every night we're at a disadvantage there.

  6. #6
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    I agree with OP, I think Lakers are legit contenders, and its mainly cause of Bynum.. Ppl are forgetting Lakers still have that length Which is a problem for most teams.. If Bynum stays healthy he can dominate the post with Gasol.. I think getting rid of Odom was a blessing in disguise.. Yeah Odom was versatile and was a key part of what the Lakers championship runs, but More min for Bynum = more productivity. The guy can ball and that might be what puts them over the hump...

  7. #7
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    What's impressive about Bynum is that he's so damn huge. Like he towers over Dwight and really most centers.

    However... nothing matters until he stays healthy for a full year. Last year he really didn't get hurt, it was more of him having surgery so late that made him miss the beginning of the season (first 26 games or so). We'll see, he has to stay healthy. And a pg would help
    Last edited by shep33; 01-03-2012 at 04:26 AM.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raph12 View Post
    You have no idea what you're talking about, Dwight has created more baskets for himself than any big in the league last season that scored over 20ppg... As for the Lakers being overlooked, they're a good team, but not favs.
    Lakers being overlooked because ESPN really hates them but obviously over-hyping the likes of LBJ, DWade, KD, CP3, & B.Griffin

  9. #9
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    not everyone, i actually have the lakers as no.3 championship contender behind miami and okc
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  10. #10
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    Lakers are contenders as long as they got the black mamba...

  11. #11
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    I think everyone is really overlooking the Timberwolves. They could be 5-0. Had the toughest schedule in the league over the first 5 games. Kevin Love is a top 8 player in the league and has an outside chance at MVP and Ricky Rubio is the savior of all saviors and will become the best PG in the league.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cfrey View Post
    I think everyone is really overlooking the Timberwolves. They could be 5-0. Had the toughest schedule in the league over the first 5 games. Kevin Love is a top 8 player in the league and has an outside chance at MVP and Ricky Rubio is the savior of all saviors and will become the best PG in the league.
    CousinsEvansDuo? Minnesota style?


    Quote Originally Posted by NYSpirit1 View Post
    The Knicks were never this bad of a team. They always have been a 48-50 win team stuck in what was a 21-40 team's body.

  13. #13
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    Nugs really should've beat them twice instead of just the once. I don't count them out by any means, just saying....

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cfrey View Post
    I think everyone is really overlooking the Timberwolves. They could be 5-0. Had the toughest schedule in the league over the first 5 games. Kevin Love is a top 8 player in the league and has an outside chance at MVP and Ricky Rubio is the savior of all saviors and will become the best PG in the league.
    Quote Originally Posted by -Kobe24-TJ19- View Post
    CousinsEvansDuo? Minnesota style?
    Seems about right.

  15. #15
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    I actually think the Blazers are a darkhorse contender.

    Not saying the Lakers aren't contenders though because they are, specially with the west being open, but after last year's loss I don't think its unreasonable for people not to believe in them.


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