Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes to weigh in on the three most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below.
Quit beating around the bush: Best team in the league? And is that your fave to win the title in June?
David Aldridge: The Spurs. Right now? Absolutely. But in June, the Lakers are still my favorite. I haven’t learned much over the years, but one thing I have learned is that you dismiss defending champions at your peril. L.A. is struggling to find its A game during the regular season, but when the playoffs start, and it’s just one opponent, and Phil Jackson and Jim Cleamons and Frank Hamblen and Brian Shaw can zero in and take away what you want, and Kobe is Kobe, and the Lakers’ 21 feet of big men are healthy and engaged, I’ll take L.A. until further notice.
Steve Aschburner: So this is trick juxtaposition, eh? The best team in the league, in my opinion, is the San Antonio Spurs. Their record, their maturity, their knack for taking care of business in all circumstances are unsurpassed. But they aren’t my favorites to win The Finals – that would be the Boston Celtics. Boston is a little shaggier in the regular season, with injuries making for some funky lineups and rotations. But these guys know the window is closing on them in a way even the Spurs don’t face, and they won’t be forgetting how close they came last June.
Fran Blinebury: Celtics. They have defense, shooting, clutch performers, awesome size, a healthy Kevin Garnett and after Sunday’s showing on the Golden Coast, probably enough attitude to become even Katy Perry‘s favorite team: Undeniable. Fine, fresh, fierce, they have it on lock.
Art Garcia: Doesn’t 40-8 mean anything to you people? I realize it’s been trendy to say for a decade or so that the Spurs don’t get enough respect. That they fly under the radar. They’re boring. But would this question even be asked if the Lakers or Heat or Celtics had that same record? Of course not. We’ve always got to rationalize someone else being better than four-time champ San Antonio. That being said, I’m picking Boston.
Scott Howard-Cooper: The Spurs are the best team in the league, and that’s coming from someone who just watched the Celtics run a clinic on the Lakers. San Antonio has been more consistent lately, even with the Tuesday loss at Portland. Boston lost to the Wizards and Suns within the last six games and, just as bad, got all of 71 points against a poor Phoenix defense. Still, I will stick with the Lakers as my pick to win the title because that was my preseason prediction and there’s no point in making a new call with every wind change of the long season. But let’s just say the Spurs would be a very good pick.
Shaun Powell: The Celtics are benefiting not only from a veteran nucleus that’s been together for four productive years, they’re finally getting healthy. Of course, that leads directly to the next question, about who’ll win in June. As KG’s knees go, so go the Celtics.
John Schuhmann: The standings say it’s San Antonio and the statistics (point differential) say it’s Miami, but I say it’s Boston. The Celtics have the second-best record, the third-best point differential, and they’re 4-0 against the Heat, Lakers and Spurs. And yes, they’re my favorite (right now) to win the title. When healthy, they’re the deepest team in the league, and they’ve played pretty well having not been all that healthy. Defensively, they obviously have what it takes. And offensively, they’ve got a ton of weapons and they move the ball as well as any team in the league.
Sekou Smith: I know the Spurs have the best record, the Lakers are the two-time and defending champs and the Heat have the best 1-2 punch, but the Celtics have the best team. The Spurs have the best argument of the other three contenders. Having the best record in the regular season is often a mirage — ask the folks in Cleveland — come playoff time. Boston has four All-Stars playing at a high level, no one else has more than three. The Lakers were my pick to win the title in June, but that was last June (and maybe even October). I figured they’d edge the Celtics because Andrew Bynum would be back and from his knee surgery before Kendrick Perkins. Now Perkins is back and Bynum is nursing a bone bruise. Did I say Celtics already?