Though the NBA is in a lockout, some sites are proceeding with season previews as if the season is set to start. One such site is our fellow Bloguin site, The Purple and Gold Blog. The blog is Los Angeles Lakers centralized and their writer Ezra has begun writing the season previews.
He’s begun his previews by writing about the four biggest threats to the Lakers in both the Western and Eastern conferences. Ezra has put the San Antonio Spurs as the fourth biggest threat to stop the Lakers in the West.
He does a good job of breaking down the matchups by position, bench, coaching, and pointing who the biggest x-factor for each team will be. I agreed with most of the matchups he had. Tony Parker wins the point guard battle, Kobe Bryant wins the shooting guard spot. Ron Artest aka Metta World Peace obviously produces more than Richard Jefferson even though Metta’s a bit crazy, and with Tim Duncan aging, and Tiago Splitter becoming a phantom in the FIBA Americas, the Lakers’ Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum would win the post area easily.
Ezra said the bench matchup is even because of Lamar Odom, Steve Blake, and Matt Barnes. I’d say the Spurs have more depth with DeJuan Blair, Kawhi Leonard, James Anderson, Gary Neal, and Cory Joseph. Odom is a major mismatch however for the Spurs whether he’s starting or coming off of the bench.
Another interesting point Ezra brought up was the coaching battle. New Lakers coach Mike Brown once faced Gregg Popovich in a playoff series and got swept 4-0 when the Spurs defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2007 NBA Finals.
Coach Pop is one of the master-minds at exploiting weaknesses and when it’s against a pupil who had to learn Pop’s system, it’s even more of an advantage. But as Ezra pointed out at the end of the article, the Spurs are always a gamble as a contender due to their age and health.
Last season, the team led the league with a 61-21 record only to be knocked out in round one because of a young, athletic, energetic Memphis team and the fact that two members of the “Big 3” were injured at the tail end of the season. Duncan had some ankle issues in March and never fully recovered while Ginobili broke his arm on the last game of the season.
Should there be a season, a Spurs-Lakers playoff series could still be the key series for the 2012 NBA Championship.
Again, that’s if there is a season.