I’ve been doing NBA Season reviews for quite some time. But until now, it was prior to that particular season; not during. I know people get tired of hearing me say it, but there used to be a time when the NBA had enough substance where you could give an opinion on how well (or bad) a team, or a group of teams would fare before the season started and pretty much be right on the money at seasons’ end. Because today’s brand of NBA basketball is so bad (in my opinion), I now find it better to wait at least 20 games in before even attempting to predict who will or won’t be a legitimate contender come tournament time.
Now that the 2012-13 NBA season is well underway, I figured now was as good a time as any to give my take on which teams’ are– or not– legit once playoff time rolls around. For you see, what a team does in the regular season can be misleading when trying to predict the outcome of a 7-game series. Therefore, I have compiled a list of only the teams who- in my estimation- will occupy the top 8-playoff spots in both the East and West, and how those teams’ will be seeded. Previewing the “bottom feeders” (Cavs,Wizards,Bobcats..) is a complete waste of time. Playoff seeding in parenthesis.
Up first, L.A. Lakers (6th): Now that Steve Nash is back in the lineup, KBGreat (24/8) can now eliminate the physical and mental strain -especially at this point in his career- of having to do it all himself. Having a healthy Nash allows for KB to play more off the ball and extend his career in the process. A rested Mamba in the 4th is still a dangerous Mamba. However, this alone is not enough to win the Lakers another title; whether or not the symmetry of Nash, Gasol, Howard, and Kobe will arrive in time to offset the incongruency of D’Antoni’s offensive philosophy as it relates to the roster will determine if another title is in the cards.
The Lakers must also:
Get more from Howard at the free-throw line (51% on 289 att). The inabilty to hit from the line is far more crucial to the outcome of a playoff game than the athletic ability.
Stop giving up so many points to the opposition! Lakers’ rank 24th in points allowed (100.6 per/g), vs. 5th in points for (102.9 per/g). Hard to outscore your way to an NBA Title. Defense used to be a staple – at the Center!
D’Antoni must realize that Gasol and Howard are not the type of “bigs” who are perimeter oriented. Gasol is most effective when used on the elbow in and around the free throw line; which doesn’t allow for congestion in the paint between he and Howard. Mike should do nothing more than call the time outs, let Nash and Kobe do the coaching.
Where’s the bench? Jamison and Hill are not enough.
In the end, there’s enough talent on this Laker squad to garner a 6th seed come playoffs; Father Time may have somethin’ else to say about hoistin another gold ball.
Next week: Oklahoma City Thunder