The lakers are right with the Heat and Thunder but I don't think you can put them over those two teams before the season even starts. Its just way too early. Both the Thunder and Heat may get even better than last year.
I agree that the Lakers are NOT the team to beat, but saying that Bynum is like the same thing as Dwight Howard is absolutely ridiculous.
What I said was that it wasn't MUCH of an upgrade. I'm not suggesting that they are the same player, but Bynum is easily a top 5 and probably top 3 center in the league. Howard is #1 but how much better will he really make the Lakers? I don't think he'll make them that much better and that's the argument here. The bigger argument is that they have no depth and that they haven't surpassed OKC or Miami though.
A few things.
1. Last time I check, LeBron is still in the apex of his career right now, and has maybe the best supporting cast he's ever had. Dwayne Wade isn't the same Wade we saw in 06 or even in game's 3 and 4 against Dallas when he played with a fuck u mentality that LeBron couldn't match, but he's smart enough that he'll be more than effective. You're getting Bosh, who finally has accepted his roll as the third man, pick and roll, defender of the rim guy, and has accepted playing Center.
2. Battier, Lewis, Haslem, and Jesus Shuttleworth aren't the same player they were 4 yrs ago, but they'll be effective, and Chalmers showed a lot during the playoffs, especially against the celtics and the heat.
3. Just look at the road to the NBA finals for both conferences. The east has a big drop off after the heat and the celtics while the west has the two favorites (OKC, LA), the respected veteran (Spurs), the three wild-cards (Clippers, Grizzles and Nuggets), and a bunch of formidable foes (Mavs, Jazz, Suns, even the hornets will be interesting).
So to say that the Lakers are the team to beat is somewhat idealistic considering the factors above, and the fact that they'll have to deal with not having a full team until maybe December.
I meant the thunder.
Lakers bench is a joke, but to say 8 guys isn't enough may be incorrect because Miami didn't win with many guys last year. Lakers are going to have issues this year. Next year, maybe they're a favorite, but Mathis didn't support his argument so I'm going with Eric.
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