Surprise! League Execs/Insiders Favor Heat, Thunder And Lakers This Season


HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS –
In what has to be the most dependable vote we’ll see this election season, a smattering of anonymous NBA executives and coaches have chosen the Miami Heat as favorites to walk away with the Larry O’Brien trophy at end of the 2012-13 season.

According to the unofficial poll conducted by our main man Sam Amick of SI.com, it’s a three-team race this season between the Heat, Los Angeles Lakers and Oklahoma City Thunder (with those second two often in flip-flopped order, depending on the ballot). But in the view of the 20 league insiders, it’s strictly a three-team race:

The final tally, with three of the voters submitting only first-place votes: The defending champions in Miami received 16 first-place votes, one second-place vote and two third-place votes; their Finals foe, Oklahoma City, garnered two first-place votes, six second-place votes and nine third-place votes; and the Lakers, who have added Dwight Howard and Steve Nash to Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol, got two first-place votes, 10 second-place votes and six third-place votes. The Lakers may not be seen as the favorites to win it all, but the idea that they’re the top threat to the Heat is not only a topic of much discussion in the media but also clearly a very real sentiment in NBA circles.

For good measure, my top three — with all of us playing in this pretend world where everyone is fully healthy — would be the Heat, Lakers and Thunder. Reality, of course, may be something altogether different.

Tempting though it was to put the Lakers in the hypothetical top spot, there is a laundry list of factors to keep an eye on as their star-studded season unfolds: the health of Howard, who is still not doing on-court activity after having back surgery in April; the age and mileage of Nash (38 years old, 16 regular seasons and 118 playoff games played) and Bryant (34, 16 regular seasons and 220 playoff games); the question of chemistry and whether Bryant will defer enough to let Nash work his magic while keeping Howard happy enough in his new locale that he wants to re-sign as a free agent next summer; and the installation of Pete Carril‘s famed Princeton offense (former Wizards and Kings coach Eddie Jordan, a Carril protégé, is expected to be hired as an assistant and do the teaching under defensive-minded head coach Mike Brown).

We’re not sure how excited we are about our extra early preseason view of the title contenders coinciding with that of so many league insiders, since we’ve never been particularly fond of the herd mentality that has permeated the front offices of so much of the league.

Then again, what other threesome would you choose right now?

The Spurs and Celtics certainly could make a case for inclusion and perhaps a top five. But beyond that, the Heat, Thunder and Lakers stand out this time of year.

One of the anonymous participants nailed HT’s position on the league’s “Big 3,” if you will, perfectly:

• Eastern Conference executive who voted Miami, Oklahoma City and Los Angeles: “The Lakers will have an adjustment period for sure, but Mike Brown is so good defensively that I can see Dwight being a monster this year. He’ll have to be, because Nash is brilliant but he has taken a step back defensively. It’s just like Miami, which needed a year to adjust to each other. The Lakers will face the same issues. The difference is that Nash and Kobe are a little older and less inclined to be stoppers defensively.

“They’ll be really good and should challenge for the Finals, but OKC should be a very good matchup for them. Kendrick Perkins has proved to be capable of defending Dwight in one-on-one situations and Ibaka can defend Gasol one-on-one, which limits the Lakers’ advantage slightly. I get the sense that people are underestimating the Thunder slightly given the moves that teams around them made, and that plays right into their hands. They’ll use it for motivation.”

Understandably, some folks think August is too early to worry about predicting the team or teams that will be standing in June. It’s often a futile exercise fueled by memories of the season past and colored by moves made (and not made) during a usually furious free-agent summer. It doesn’t take into account all of the nuance of training camp and the actual developing stages of a season. That’s how we sometimes miss the Mavericks winning it all.

But more often than not the true contenders are identifiable this time of year, even if it is just a healthy guess.

Feel free to share yours!

144 Comments

  1. bulls eye says:

    BULLS….haha if not thunderz!

  2. theking0522 says:

    The Executives are right!!!! Nobody is stopping the Heat. The only thing the Heat changed from last year is that…..They are MUCH BETTER…SCARY!!!!

  3. lebron fan says:

    The Lakers success falls on D12′s health and his Production on Defense.
    The Thunder stars will be better But the question is can they still score in the paint with D12 Defending it?
    this goes for the Heat too. But still GO heat!

  4. pl says:

    the lakers will win this year…. there are said it..why??guys remember that when the miami heat and orlando magic played in the season games, it was EVEN,2-2IN WHICH THE SECOND BEST PLAYER ON THAT MAGIC TEAM WAS RYAN ANDERSON. now tell me how can the miami heat win it all this season!!!!!

  5. nbafan says:

    i see the nets getting far this year but they are going to get crushed by the heat in the conf. finals

  6. Tiger says:

    GO LAKERS!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. Tiger says:

    Oh yea btw, Lakers beat the Heat in the NBA Finals in 6 games.

  8. Tiger says:

    Dont forget about the Nuggets, Grizzlies, Sixers, and Pacers…These teams are Darkhorses. Nuggets are deep and talented plus young. Not to mention they made noise in the NBA Playoffs last year with a couple of All-star caliber players. Grizzlies have one of the best core-four group of players in the league. Not too mention a strong 8-man rotation and one the best defenders in Tony Allen. They have one of the best froutcourts in the NBA too. Sixers could build off of last year’s deep run and cause match-up problems with the likes of Holiday,Turner, Bynum and Thad Young.Plus they have a top-5 defense as well as 3-point shooters in Nick Young, Dorrell Wright and J-Rich. Coach Collins is one of the smartest coaches in the NBA as well as Lionel Hollins of the Grizzlies. Pacers showed they have the ability to beat the Heat. They need to pound it in to Hibbert. He has the advantage over Bosh. Clippers too. They have the ability to beat OKC because of the matchup probelms caused by the All-Star pair of BG and CP3. DJ is one of the best shot blockers in the league. If Billups stay healthy. they are dangerous. Plus, they have a superb bench with LO, J-Crawford, Ryan Hollins, Grant Hill and the emerging Eric Bledsoe.

  9. history says:

    MIAMI REPEATS , SORRY HOWARD…

  10. JDLakers says:

    2013 FINALS LAKERS

  11. liam says:

    listen everyone i HATE the Heat. the Celts r takin the east but it is the Reheat!!! ok, not the the repeat heat, or the heat repeat. Call it the Reheat!!!!! Geeeeeeezzzzz

  12. lakersalltheway says:

    kobe is 34………nash is 38………if u think about it, they are not that old….how old are youur parents…..exactly……they r not that old

  13. CHRIS SANCHEZ says:

    THE SPURS WILL SEND OKC HOME EARLY THIS YEAR———————-

  14. Stu Brew says:

    I can see this season’s NBA finals coming down to the Miami Heat and the LA Lakers.

  15. zircbryant says:

    The LAKERS will win the 2013 NBA CHAMPIONSHIP…WHY??READ THIS!!!ON the second round of playoff this year between LAKERS VS THUNDER…GAME 1 THUNDER ARE BIG on this GAME….GAME 2 LAKERS HAVE AN EDGE OF 3-4POINTS AT 1-2MINUTES UNTIL THE THUNDER GAIN THE LEAD AND WIN…..GAME 3 LAKERS WIN BY VERY SLIGHT EDGE…GAME 4 LAKERS AGAIN on the top by 3-4points at 1-2minutes until the thunder gain the lead and win…GAME 5 is the close out for the THUNDER…THUNDER WIN THE SERIES 4-1….LAKERS CAN LEAD THAT SERIES 3-1 GOING TO THE THUNDER HOMECOURT IF THEY CLOSE OUT THAT GAME 2 AND GAME 4…BUT THE PROBLEM ON THAT GAME IS THAT..1ST-NO PRODUCTIVE BENCH PLAYER…2ND-NO SUPERSTAR POINT GUARD,,3RD-ONLY BRYANT IS PRODUCTIVE SCORER ON THAt game…4th-no defensive shot blocker inside…but now the LAKER FILL THAT GAP and reloaded again…against the MIAMI HEAT??WHY THEY CAN BEAT THE HEAT???ONLY ONE REASON…INSIDE PLAY OF THE LAKER BIG-miami has no legitimate center that cam match up dwight,,yes lebron can guard pau…but pau can position hiself on the post i think lebron is endangered and bosh can’t guard dwight on the post….that’s why i choose LOS ANGELES LAKERS TO WIN THE 2013 NBA CHAMPIONSHIP…..READ,,READ,,,REaD,,READ,,,READ,,,,READ,,,,READ,,,READ,,,READ,,,,READ,,,,,READ,,,,READ,,,,READ,,READ, AND READ THIS POST……………………

  16. bobby j says:

    Laker 2012-2013 win it all!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  17. POOKDATRUTH says:

    ONE QUICK QUESTION DO YALL ACTUALLY WATCH DA GAMES BEKUZ SUM OF YALL LAKER HATERS DONT KNO WAT YALL TALKIN BOUT IF KEVIN DURANT SCREAMIN WE BETTA DIS YEAR YALL POINTS DONT EVEN MATTA HE DA PLAYER DAT HAS 2 PLAY DEM NOT YALL SO JUS SIT BAK AND WATCH DA MY LAKERS HANDLE BIZNESS YA HEARD ME ITS ALREADY WRITTEN JUS LIKE LAST YEAR WIT KD AGAINST LEBRON NA IT GON B KOBE AGAINST LBJ ITS ALL ABOUT DA MONEY SO WHO BETTA 2 WATCH DEN KOBE AND LBJ IN A CHAMPIONSHIP MATCHUP CMON NA
    MO MONEY 4 DA NBA DATS Y DAVID STERN DIDNT BLOCK DIS TRADE HE KNO HE WANT DAT MONEY HE MADE ALOT OF LAST YEAR FINALS NOW HE GON MAKE EVEN MORE MONEY WIT DA 2 BEST IN DA LEAGUE YA HEARD ME #WATCHSPORTSANDLEARNSUMTHIN#

  18. POOKDATRUTH says:

    4 ALL YALL LAKER HATERS KEVIN DURANT ALREADY SAID MY LAKERS WUZ GOOD LAST YEAR BUT DEY BETA NOW SO WIT DAT BEING SAID YALL KNO WAT DAT MEANS #GOLD# KOBE GETTIN 2 B4 HE GO OUR BENCH ON POINT JAMISON AVG 17 A GAME DATS ALL HE NEED HILL,BLAKE,DUHON,MEEKS,EBANKS, AND OUR FEDERAL STARTERS KOBE HOWARD NASH MWP GASOL CMON NA OUR IQ IS WAYYYYYYYY BETTA DEN DA THUNDER AND HEAT IF BOSTON WON ON DEY 1ST BIG THREE YEAR SHHH I KNO 4SHO MY LAKERS COULD DO IT PLUS WE GOT A BETTA BIG 3 R 4 DEN ANY TEAM KOBE BETTA DEN KD,LBJ,ANDDWADE RINGS SPEAKS 4 ITSSELF YA HEARD ME WE GOT TALENT YALL JUS DONT WANT US 2 WIN IT BUT DATS WAT WE DO WIN RINGS WE GAVE DEM DA SERIS LAST YEAR IN 2 GAMES WE WUZ SUPPOSE 2 BE UP 3-1 EASY AND DA HEAT WON BEKUZ DEY PLAYED A YUNG TEAM DAT TOOK A MILLION JUMP SHOTS HOW KAN YA WIN LIKE DAT BUT NOW MY LAKERS GOT KNOCK DOWN SHOOTERS SO AINT NO RUNNIN FASTBREAKS ON US NOMO BEELEE DAT YA HEARD ME DURANT HAD HIS CHANCE WIT LBJ NA KOBE GON SHOW KD HOW 2 WIN IT ALL AGAINST ANYBODY #LAKERS4LIFE# OLD DONT MEAN NUTTIN WE GOT SKILLS AND EXPERIENCE #LEGGO LAKERS

  19. POOKDATRUTH says:

    LAKERS WINNIN IT ALL YA HEARD ME

  20. Charles Howell says:

    My team the miami heat will repeat this yr because we have a deep team and now even deeper with ray allen and rashard lewis. since we have ray allen now like that gives us another threat on the floor they have to respect cuz everybody know ray allen is the best three point shooter. this will give space for lebron and d wade to still attack and also lebron’s new post game so i really dont see any team stopping the heat this upcoming year we are gona be well rounded in all aspects of the game. Heat 2012-2013 Champions

  21. Unbiased opinion says:

    Hi… I see almost everyone’s comments are biased on their own favorite team or what not but here are my unbiased opinions

    Lakers will have a tough time for they need to adjust..People will say that just like the Heat when Shaq joined or when bron joined that they didn’t win on their first year…I get th epoint but remember bron and wade are not that mature as a player yet. We all saw what happened when KG, Allen and Pierce joined forces…They triumphed right away and that’s because of maturity and experience.

    Nobody in the Laker guards can guard westbrook and this is due to his speed and agility. Good thing is they will be able to have a great defensive player in Dwight.

    Now, age will really be a factor but it’s just very funny because these are the exact comments about the Bulls when Jordan returned to the game after his 1st retirement about him being old and during the last 3 chapionship of the bulls they were being dubbed as old and can no longer win championships..but they did.

    This will be a very close call. I see Miami and the Lakers on the NBA Finals this year not unless there will be a Diwght Drama to arise….. Injuries will actually determine which of the 3 will face on the NBA Finals.

  22. Jon Joe says:

    They might forget my guys, SAN ANTONIO SPURS. Yes, if there are top 4 or 5 contenders for this year, my Spurs will STILL has a shot of winning another championship ring. They might be the BIGGEST SURPRISE this season!! Go Spurs Go!

    • SG says:

      The Spurs were great last season. But they do not have superstars. And they lost rather shamefully to OKC after leading 2-0. They will not win the west.

  23. Rm42 says:

    All I am predicting that the conference finals are going to be Lakers-Thunder and Heat-Celtics. But anything can happen. For all we know, the Bobcats are going to get the top Eastern seed (the chances of that are remote, of course).The Spurs or the Bulls could make it to their conference finals. Something tells, however, this season will have biased officiating AGAIN for the 3 teams mentioned in the article (Lakers ,ore this year than last year)

  24. LA-Lekers@Manila says:

    Who ever said that OKC will beat LA will gonna eat their words.. C’mon guys.. LA is not LA last year.. OKC can run because LA misses a lot.. Now, I don’t think that they can run because Howard is there for rebound and blocks.. Nash is there to run the offense.. Shooters are there to shoot.. Now, how will they run, if almost every shot of LA will go inside the rim.. TELL ME OKC FANS…

  25. shelrck says:

    @amitpal you make a strong case for someone who is obviously not a laker fan but here in one big thing your not taking into account. None of these guys were on the same team before, therefore it made it easier to guard as individuals and in most case steve and dwight being the go to guys on the team with no help so teams could load up on them and make someone else beat them. Take Miami for example, until Lbj, dwade and bosh joined forces although as good as they are together their not near as effective on a teams where they are the primary scorer. So now you take someone as good as these guys, whether it be in the heat case or the laker’s and tell me how you decide who you are gonna stop and who you allow to dominant. So your case about Perk guarding dwight and serge on Pau, durant or thebo is good in theory when they were on opposite teams and even then like I said you have to take into account the supporting cast, but put all of them on the same team and you have a major problem. As far as the whole age thing im so sick of hearing that, Name me one young team in the last that one it all. You saw how the heat took advantage of the thunder in the finals, and they aren’t the youngest team themselves, Mavs were old when they won, Boston, the list goes on. Not to mention like Boston all are pieces fit perfectly and everybody play their natural positions which should make the transition easier than everyone thinks. Health is the only thing that can stop them, now if you wanna contribute that to age, fine, but as far as on the court please im not trying to hear that.

  26. MIAMI HEAT says:

    Anybody who thinks Any team right now can beat Lebron James n the Miami Heat right now with James in his PRIME doesn’t know basketball very Well. Word

  27. marc from san jose ca says:

    man u guys are crazy y is it allways the same thing every year lakers heat lakers heat get over it this is san antonios year were number one so wat we chocked last year our rookies were unbelivable now there not rookies anymore we are the team that is stack we are the dynasty dont fall ASLLEP ON THE SPURS DONT BE SURPRISED EATHER U DONT THINK POP HAS A PLAN THINK ABOUT IT? DO U WONDER Y WE DIDNT MAKE ANY EXTREAM TRADES WE DONT NEED TO BE LIKE THESE WASHED UP SUPERSTARS THAT CAN WIN A TITLE THE RIGHT WAS THRU TEAM WORK! THATS Y THERE WILL NEVER EVER BE ANOTHER M J NEVER HE DIDNT GO WIT MAGIC OR BIRD OR WILKINS OR BARKELY HE DID IT WITH HIS TEAM SPURS THIS IS OUR YEAR MEMBER WHAT HAPPEN LAST TIME WE HAD CAPTIN JACK ON OUR TEAM HE HELPED US GET A RING THE BIG 3 ARE READY I JUS HPE ALL U NBA FANS THE ORGANIZATION IS READY TO BE UPSET CUZ ALL MY MONEY AND FAITH GO TO THE SPURS THIS IS OUR YEAR WE WON 20 IN A ROW AND THAN LOST 4 IN A ROW WHEN HAS THAT EVER HAPPEN I GUESS IT HAPPENS NOW THO HOPE U GUYS ARE READY CUZ S.A. IS NO JOKE

  28. im a heat fan, wait i am NOT says:

    if nash can make a regular player into a superstar (look what he did to phoenix, eg gortat).. then lets see how he will make the superstar (eg, DH12,gasul,kobe) into a mega-superstar, lmao, its proven by everyone that NASH could make something different in the team whether its full of superstar or not,whether if he’s old or not….he can make the game easier for kobe and the rest of the LA team..he’s a true PG who can control the floor,non of the team in the league who could top Nash’s ability to control the game/plan he has in mind
    and for HEAT, they’re just lucky to won against the INJURED-CELTICS last season on the east finals, they even barely won that game..now the celtics have an accurate 3pt-shooter (Jason Terry) which we all know thats better than Ray Allen of today.Actually alot of team in East are a threat for the Heat to make their 2nd championship happen..

  29. Michael Goo says:

    I agree that OKC have the better bench players,but the lakers have better starting 5 then OKC.
    Plus the legendary kobe bryant

  30. AK says:

    The most dangerous thing that happened to the rest of the league was Lebron winning the title, and proving why he’s a 3 time MVP at any point during the games. Lebron has got a big monkey off his back, and will play the game of basketball without anger…he will play with sheer determination. He will do as other greats before him have done; get that first one out of the way, get that monkey off your back and make the NBA championship a yearly tradition. The best of Lebron is yet to come. The Finals will be Miami vs OKC as OKC will take out the lakers. They have Durant to match Kobe. They have Westbrook to outlast Nash. They have Perkins and Ibaka to handle Howard and Gasol. And they have Harden to outplay Artest. OKC are younger, quicker, more confident, and more motivated than the Lakers. And they have the momentum of being one of the youngest teams to make it to the Finals. Bottom line is we’ll see a repeat of last year’s Finals. And Kobe will retire with 5 rings.

  31. Mr. Fo sho says:

    I dont think anyone has brought up that dwight howard and kobe bryant are Masters at drawing fouls.

    Dwight led the league in free throws attempted and brought the magic all the way down to the worst free throw shooting team in the league.

    Other teams are going to have to try their best to stay out of foul trouble.

  32. MGIC CORE 2 says:

    It will be a a great year for 4 teams.Heat, Lakers Thunders, and Celtics. We can not forget the Celtics, they are not only haveagreat balance team but a great coach also.It wouldn’t surprise me see the Celtics against the lakers or OKC.Let see what happen, but before the trades date ends the Celtics will make a very good move. Will see.

  33. dust says:

    you guys gotta be kidding me. ITs most likely gonna be a repeat of okc and heat. Sure talentwise lakers are (maybe) better than okc. But with new players and new coaches and new staff and all that, it will be crazy. Besides the only team to win aat same year they got a big three was the 2008 celtics. Even heat couldnt win it in their first year. as for players match ups kobe may be kobe but HE IS OLD OK? durant westbrook and harden will drive past MWP kobe nash blake jamison and meeks 10 out fo 10 timees. Sure howard mightt block them but they will try to draw the foul so dwight will pick up quick fouls. And also perkins has always guarded howard when he was with the celtics. He has experience then any other player in this league to how to guard dwight. however i think the bench are similar with talent but i would pick okc’s bench anyday over lakers. But lakers have an advantage with pau vs ibaka. Ibaka might have been the runner up for DPY, but ibaka is not a good post up defender.

  34. Oneil Edwards says:

    You guys are crazy to sleep on the Celtics this year. Deep talented bench. Miami is gonna have a war in the East.

  35. Jason says:

    I can’t believe how many times I read that jamison is washed up. Do you pay attention to the NBA at all. I mean I know he played for the Cavs, but his numbers were great. 17,6,2,1, and 1 I would take those numbers for a bench player any day. The fact that he can hit the 3 makes him great to insert for World peace and hit the 3′s to keep the D honest.

  36. Anonymous says:

    WHY DOES EVERYONE SAY THAT THE HEAT WILL WIN IT, THEIR ONLY GOOD BIG MAN IS CHRIS BOSH, AND ALL LBJ DOES IS DRIVE TO THE HOOP, ALLEN AND LEWIS ARE TOO OLD… THE HEAT HAVE NO GAMEPLAN!! GET THAT THROUGH YOU THICK SKULLS!

  37. Raptors95 says:

    I don’t think Lakers can beat OKC. First of all, Dwight isn’t that much of an upgrade over Bynum. The only real difference between them is that Bynum is arguably better than DH12 on the offensive side of the floor, but Howard is better defensively. But Dwight being better defensively won’t really help the Lakers. Ibaka and Perkins both rarely shoot the ball anyways except for putback dunks, and the occasional pick ‘n roll. Yeah, Howard will help defend the rim, but Westbrook is too good inside to be stopped by anyone. And as for everyone else, they all just shoot jumpshots anyways. And let’s just forget about how well everyone else defended Durant + crew…

    As for OKC, Westbrook will easily lock down Nash. Nash will struggle to put up 10 points on the board with Westbrook on him. Thabo can keep a grip on Kobe, but Kobe’s still going to score 25 points, just because he’s Kobe. MWP doesn’t really put up much in terms of scoring, so KD will cover him just fine. Dwight and Gasol will still get their points, but they won`t get them easy. Perkins will make Dwight really work for them, and waste his energy, making him less of a factor on defense. I think he can hold him to 15 points. Ibaka will do the same thing to Gasol, except Gasol`s more skilled then Howard, so I think he might be able to score 20+ consistently in the series. And people forget that Harden`s a really good defender. He`ll be a big help for OKC.

    And the bench advantage goes to OKC. LA added a washed up Jamison, and an unimpressive Meeks. If Meeks can step it up and play to his true potential, then that will give LA a huge bonus. But if he plays how he did in Philly, then OKC`s bench will dominate LA`s.

    But of course, this is all purely speculation. I could be completely wrong.

  38. CEDRIC says:

    in the Heat top 10, one only sees Lebron and D. Wade… are there any other players in that team ?

  39. breezyboi33 says:

    the Heat will make it to the finals again. lebron wasnt just hungry for one ring remember that. if they face OKC then they will win again. OKC might put up a better fight than last time but the result will be the same. If heat face the lakers then Heat will win in 7. They are quicker with dwade and lbj on the floor. most likely they will be harder to defend becasue they added lewis, and ray allen to chalmers, battier and mike miller so they always will have 2 or 3 HIGHLY respectable 3 point shooters on the floor at the same time even PLUS dwade lebron and bosh knock down threes if they get streaky so noone is to be left open on the perimeter. lebron and dwade attacking the basket will no doubt put howard in foul trouble so he wont be on the court for too long. and kobe may not be stopped but with d wade lebron and shane battier being thrown at him he will have a hard time especially since he’e getting older..the only way the lakers will win is if dwight dominates..and thats only if lebron isnt going crazy on the same night which is highly unlikley now that he’s more comfortable in the forth quarter

  40. newyorksteelo says:

    The Lakers have what it takes to win it all this upcoming season. Their starting 5 may have veterans considered old (Kobe and Nash), and a Center returning from back surgery (Howard), but those players still reign the league as top 3 if not higher in their positions. The entire team including the bench is full of talent, and if they can remain healthy throughout the season and in the playoffs, bye bye Miami Heat. Dangerous team to say the least.

  41. OKC FAN says:

    KEVIN DURANT AND THE BAD COMPANY WILL BE BACK SUPER HOT……………….LAKERS HUH, I DON THINK SOOO, THEY CAN SHOOT BUT THEY CAN’T RUN…………SO I DOUBT ABOUT THEM AGAINST THE THUNDER……….THEY B GOOD IN FIRST FIVE MINS AND THEN BEHIND THE REST OF THE NEXT 40 MINUTES……..

    OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER WILL B THE 2013 CHAMPS……………………………KD-RW-SI-TS-KP….SWEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEETTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT FIRST FIVE………..

  42. Choker says:

    Where was the double alley oop of James and Wade against Boston

  43. christian says:

    thunder beat lakers 4-1 this last season right? and 3 of the 4 games thunder won were decided with 5 points or under, so it was close every game, so you know the lakers were not that far from the thunder then! right now with the addition of steve nash, dwight, antawn j, lakers are def better! in terms of players etc. so what do you think is going to happen now? i mean the thunder are still the same team, who barely beat the lakers in each game, lakers have gotten better, so you know itll be different, lakers and heat in the finals!

  44. if there’s anyone other than my bulls to win it all…i’d say the thunder deserve and should win….

  45. You all keep forgetting says:

    Why does everyone think OKC is a sure thing over L.A. The Lakers could have easily, EASILY been up 3-1 in that series but didn’t have the floor general they were ucustomed to in Fisher and didn’t have the triangle to revert to like they were used to either. This team will not fall apart in the final minutes of games like last season with Nash on the floor. Now we know Durant and Westbrook will get theres, but they’re not scoring 100 a game alone. The Lakers also now have a bench that can hold their own and not lose large leads. I

  46. FAITH says:

    HEAT REPEAT…. DONT HATE THE PLAYERS HATE THE GAME

  47. oki says:

    if u think the lakers are going to be the champs then ur wrong the lakers have a good roster but kobe and nash are old how will nash compete with paul wstbrook and parker these players are not at there prime no more

  48. bestkillua says:

    S.Smith are you high?? Kobe gettin less defensive?? and now Howard and Metta in one team how defensive can you get more??Perkins on Howard…wheew He’s gonna be eaten alive.And OKC yes being athletic team, but got wasted 4 consecutive loss in Finals just shown their weakness…when the going gets tough the OKC disappears. And yes the combo Nash and Pau/Howard OKC now will have their nightmare inside the paint..AND LAST, KOBE WILL PROVE TO HIMSELF HE WANTS THAT 6TH RING BABY..SO WATCH OUT OKC AND HEATS.

    • celtic533 says:

      i don’t agree with you.first of all kobe is kobe.An offensive genius and a clutch player.He isn’t however, known for being a defensive stopper like thabo sefelosha.He will give you a hard time but he never was in the elite defender level.that’s a part of what seperates Jordan from him.and now he’s also aging.he’s been in the legue since he was 17 and has a lot of miles on him.Metta World Violence was an elite defender throughout his career but he’s way past his prime and not as good as he one was.that being said,with DH onboard the Lakers are still probably gonna be a top 5 defensive team.Also,about the thunder disappearing when it gets rough,I’m pretty sure that beinng down 2-0 in a series against a Spurs team that had just won thir 19th and 20th games against you is rough.but okc responded magnificiently and won 4 straight games and won the series.in game one,an amazing fourth quarter performance by durant-westbrook won them the game.in game two it came down to durant’s last second shot attemp on which he got fouled by lebron but the refs didnt call it.the next two games were all wire to wire.the thunder were in it but they just made some mistakes cuz they are young and it was their first finals.its two early to tell now but i’m going with thunder in the west

  49. kalid says:

    wheres boston?

  50. Shabba says:

    If OKC gets past LA then Miami will repeat. This is because OKC has not done enough to improve on their weak defense and Miami is even better coming in to this next season. If LA gets past OKC in less than five then its a wrap and Mamba gets no. 6. It’s that simple. BTW, look out for NOLA next season. Remember I said it first.

  51. L09N says:

    I love it how no one even considers the Celtics…they didn’t last year either and in the end they had Miami on the ropes until the last 10 minutes of game 7 – and they had half of their team out with injuries…they would have wiped out Miami if Green, J.O’Neal, Bradley, Allen and Wilcox were healthy. I look forward to surprises this season. And the Spurs were the best team last season by far, until they disappeared after 2-0 in the w.finals and no one even takes them into consideration. Everyone is too impressed with superstars…this is a team sport guys

    • SG says:

      Yes, the NBA is a team sport. But it is always the greatest stars that take championships. The only exceptions I recall were San Antonio (even though they did have Duncan at his prime) and Detroit.

  52. Not a lakers fan says:

    They’re going to be good no question on that but why is it always the lakers fans that have such a one sided look at that team. No one cant beat them? Is that a joke, you havnt even seen them play yet and im pretty sure they have the oldest combined age in the NBA. You lakers fans need to get off your high horse and realize that the thunder are going to give the lakers a real run wether or not you guy get howard. Plus saying that your bench is great……im sure its not a bad bench but jameson and meeks? Come on get real that any of them are better then harden. FYI dont name yourself LAKERSFAN if you want to get any kind of possitive feed back or negative debates because we all know how stuck up and naive…….and im sorry but when most of the league votes for the heat to win the title again after seeing howard go to the lakers, id say you are a little premature.

  53. Ninggay says:

    plain and simple… HEAT will win it all!!!

  54. Laker Nation says:

    Welcome to the Lakers Dwight!

    Pg: Steve Nash

    Sg: Kobe Bryant

    Sf: Metta World Peace

    Pf: Pau Gasol

    C: Dwight Howard

    Bench: Steve Blake, Jordan Hill, Antawn Jamison, Chris Duhon, and Jodie Meeks

    2012-2013 NBA CHAMPIONS #BeatTheHEAT

  55. Kobe4President says:

    The Lakers have great chances to roll over OKC if they use their basketball I.Q., cuz obviously OKC is above the Lakers in terms of athletism. OKC is weak speaking of I.Q. and science of Basket ball, MIA proved it in the Finals, the better and the only way to beat this young team is to be smarter than them. Nash is smarter than Westbrook, Nash knows how to set offense, he knows how to make his teamates better which is clearly not the case about Westbrook. Russel is a scorer, he plays hero basket ball, Nash plays like a true P.G. Westbrook may score 40 on Nash but Nash will be the main reason why the Lakers can score 110 or 120 points a Game.

    I.Q. beats athletism

  56. JoeeeyLopez says:

    Peoples argument of “they’re old” is a horrible one. Yes, The Lakers may be older. . . But I Take experience, maturity, and the Lakers verterans drive to win over the Thunders less expereince and ego-tistic basketball playing. Remember, Westbrook thinks he’s the teams number one option and so does Durant. Where as the Lakers know that they’re too far along in their career to worry about who gets more of the shine on the team.

    How could anyone say KOBE BRYANT is declining?!?! WOW. I Mean sure he isn’t playing at the same level as he was in say, 2006… but i mean come on! He’s KOBE BRYANT. He learned different skills (Like his foot work which is some of the best in the eague) to create scoring opportunities for himself since he knows he isn’t in his prime anymore. Kobe had second highest ppg average last season, and easily could have took the scoring title if he wanted to… but instead sat out the last game because those things don’t matter to him. All that matters is that 6th ring. He the TRUE KING in the NBA. He isn’t ready to hand over the league just yet.

    And as far as the bench, it may not be an incredible bench but it is an upgrade from what the Lakers had last year. Jamison isn’t washed up, unless you think 17 ppg and 7 rebound ppg last season is washed up. And Meeks is a 37% 3-point shooter. Playing on a team with Nash and the other 3 primary scoring options the Lakers have That percentage will only go up because of all the open shots he’ll have. The Lakers don’t have a spectacular bench, but just those two additions plus a full season with Jordan Hill Is already an upgrade from that joke of a player last year Troy Murphe Or Josh McRoberts. . . And thank the LORD we don’t have to worry about luke walton taking up space on our bench anymore.

    Dwight will come back strong and have everything in the world to prove to the league. So watch out for his best season ever. Yes, I agree that durants length and sefolosha do disturb Kobe defensivly. . . but when Kobe Gets in Black Mamba mode I DON’T CARE who is guarding him, no one will stop him. Nobody has been able to stop him for 17 years in the league so far. I don’t see thabo sefelosha or even Durant stopping him.

    When The Lakers play the Thunder, Yes Durant Will be vertually unstoppable offensivley and we can only hope MWP can at least slow him down, but the lakers can live with Durant, Westbrook, and Harden scoring. Reason being. . . Dwight, Kobe, Pau, and Nash Can all create their own shots. And also Nash (not only being the 25th best 3 point shooter last season) will also be able to set up his teammates for better scoring opportunities. So, Lakers have more offensive power.

    The Lakers don’t need a “Pilot Season” Like the Heat needed two seasons ago. They needed that 1st year to come toegether and learn how to play together because LeBron and Wade were vertually the same scorers and had to learn to co-exist. They didn’t completely click and had to learn to play together, and also.. two years ago their bench was just terrable. Chalmers stepped up big time last season as the point guard they needed. The Lakers on the other hand already know their roles on the team. At this point in their career Kobe and Nash just want to win and will do wahtever it takes. Their games click together perfectly..and nash is one of the beszst pick-and-roll point guards in the NBA, and Dwight IS THE BEST pick-and-roll center in the NBA.. so their games match perfectly… don’t forget about pow who has a beautiful mid range jumper that he’ll be able to use when Nash and Dwight are doing their pick and roll game. Nash can dish it to Pau for that beautiful mid range jumper or dish it to Kove and Let him do what he does best, Score.

    Lakers will win the title nest season.. Maybe the nest 3 seasons. People just need to except that and stop trying to make excuses and reasons. I’m not saying the road will be easy, but The Lakers are a superior team when compared to ANY team in the NBA.

    • SG says:

      I definitely agree about Kobe. For many many years he has been the best player. No doubt about that. And Nash is a great great PG. But Gasol was not good last year. And Howard, who knows how he will be? Plus the Lakers bench is mediocre.
      The Heat bench is also not that good. But Lebron was just fantastic in the last 2 months of the season and the playoffs. And they do have Wade. Bosh also surprised me in the playoffs. I vote for the Heat to win it all.
      Anyway, there are so many great teams. It may be the most exciting season ever !

  57. yeah the lakers have nice teammates but not mean enough….haha kobe might be only one hungry…and they all need to get on same page fast and get use to each other….it said howard hasn’t even put on a jersey since back surgery..

  58. merryhairyfish says:

    heat vs lakers. now thats what i want to see.

  59. anti kobe haters says:

    ok…. people first of all lakers and heat championship lakers will win bc the starting lineup as a whole is better nash is better than chalmers kobe is better than dwade lebron wins over metta i think pau is better than bosh my opinion and howard is better than joel anthony or whoever is playing center plus kobe and lebron wud make the best finals in nba history, and with lebron becoming more clutch the fourth quarter is going to be amazing

    • Bizzman23 says:

      Now here’s some logic how can people honestly think that the LA is not gonna dominate, and they bring up Howard’s back dude never missed a game until this season so he’ll be fine, now MIA fans need to worry about Wade.

  60. LearnTheGame says:

    Bizzman23 – Kobe played with Shaq but Shaq is the most dominant player ever. Career averages are above 25ppg including the terrible years. I’m sorry but DH is not that guy at all. He can’t even average 25ppg in a league where there is only 2 centers. CMON! He is seriously offensively challenged. In order for LA to win their best player has to be better in the crunch. You can’t even go to DH under 4 minutes cuz of free throws. And I know you will state Shaq’s FT’s but Shaq had young Kobe going bananas late. Kobe will not be the same in the 4th as old Kobe. Point proven when they were playing OKC up by 7 with 1:40 seconds they couldn’t get one bucket. Nash does change that but there is two ends to the floor. Pau, Kobe and Steve are not playing stellar D these days either. Miami plays lock down D. MIA-LA finals, Miami wins in 6 games.

    • Bizzman23 says:

      I understand what you are saying, Shaq was a much better offensive player than Howard, but Howard will improve big time with this roster. Howard offensive isn’t that bad, dude played with Jameer Nelson, cmon the magic best play maker was Turkey sandwich, the Magic dug their own hole by putting average talent around Dwight and expected him to really be superman. Now he gets to play with Kobe and Nash.Look what Kareem did with Bynum, now he has someone that will listen and wants to get better. Plus late game FT Bynum won’t have the ball to even be counted on for that, Kobe is going to be in rare form this season just wait and see what he can do without carrying the full load. The trick to the Lakers is getting Gasol more involved, but I think Nash can do it indeed. I can see MIA-Laker, MIA-OKC, or BOS-LA, BOS-OKC, or PHILLY-LA, PHILLY-OKC, I say philly for one I’m a crazy fan who just wishes that this will happen, but it won’t, unless Turner and Holiday turn it up big time this season then they have a shot, but I doubt it.
      I don’t MIA winning this year both teams in the west are coming for their spot.

      • LearnTheGame says:

        Those teams in the west will not uproot the Heat. DH does in fact make this roster better you’re right. But while others are working on their game he can’t even do bball related work. That will hurt. And lets face it LBJ’s support case is better than any other. Better than Durant and Better than Dwight’s because lets be real DH is the best player on that team at this point. MIA has the ability to put too many mismatches out there for anyone to force LBJ off the ball. That’s the key. DH doesn’t demand a double team at this point in his career so he doesn’t make his teammates better on that end of the floor. If you were playing LA – MIA right now there is only one player on the court that DEMANDS to be doubled everytime. LBJ! and his team is perfectly setup to prevent you from doing that. LA team is not because their best player (DH is better than Kobe at this point in Kobe’s career) is still offensively challenged. LA has a great team but won’t be able to beat a team with the best player in the world and 10 legitimate starters. They have 10 legitimate starters. No other team has that.

      • Jason says:

        LearnTheGame

        10 Legit starters on the Heat???? I must have not looked at their line-up lately. Why you think Ray left Boston, cause Bradley was taking his spot. lewis couldn’t even do anything on a Wizards team lol. Mike Miller couldn’t play a starters role, his back would be done before the all star break. Shane Battier too many years on him, plus an offensive liability unless WIDE open for 3′s. Did I miss anyone I must have because you say there are 10 legit starters. LBJ, Wade, Bosh yes but even Chalmers and Anthony would not be penciled in many teams starting lines ups.

  61. willis says:

    Lakers, Wow…..excellent teamates. Sure win for a champion in 2013!

  62. heat, lakers and OKC on paper yes but thats it….could be anyone now

  63. LearnTheGame says:

    LA has to get past OKC first and Miami has no real threats. Miami may shoot for 65-70 games because their conference is just that weak. The best player in the world has the best team. 99% of the time when that’s the case that team usually wins. Look at bball history. Miami can put 5 scorers/shooters on the floor at the same without sacrificing defense. No other team can do that. And still be able to sub without dropoffs. Miami 69 wins and championship

    • Bizzman23 says:

      Ok the east is not weak this year Boston has gotten younger and better, the Nets have gotten better, Philly has gotten better, Chi town we will see about them because they are D Rose or bust. I see what you are thinking, but the Pacers could have beaten MIA if they would have done the smart thing like run the offense through your 7’2 center, but no they want to come down and jack up 3′s

      • LearnTheGame says:

        Bizzman23 – Kobe played with Shaq but Shaq is the most dominant player ever. Career averages are above 25ppg including the terrible years. I’m sorry but DH is not that guy at all. He can’t even average 25ppg in a league where there is only 2 centers. CMON! He is seriously offensively challenged. In order for LA to win their best player has to be better in the crunch. You can’t even go to DH under 4 minutes cuz of free throws. And I know you will state Shaq’s FT’s but Shaq had young Kobe going bananas late. Kobe will not be the same in the 4th as old Kobe. Point proven when they were playing OKC up by 7 with 1:40 seconds they couldn’t get one bucket. Nash does change that but there is two ends to the floor. Pau, Kobe and Steve are not playing stellar D these days either. Miami plays lock down D. MIA-LA finals, Miami wins in 6 games.

      • LearnTheGame says:

        Yes the east is weaker than the west. Please don’t toss Boston out there because they are young team that will lack serious experience in their rotation. The bench is all question marks. So is LA’s bench minus Jamison. Miami has not real questions marks on their bench minus health. I always learned if you need someone to get hurt to beat a team, then the team is just better. Just look at the benches and see who is better.

      • Bizzman23 says:

        MIA bench is good???????? Whoa outside of Ray Allen it’s consisted of the most washed up players in the league you guys really signed Edy Curry though last year. Yes the younger players that Boston have will contribute like Jared and Fab Melo. Melo is just for defense and rebounding, Jared adds some post play, man watch some basketball please instead of the I get every foul Heat games and look around senseless when the whistle doesn’t blow

      • lynx13 says:

        health is MIA bench issue, if Mike Miller healthy enough for 1 finals game, he can be 8of8 again from the arc.

  64. Thundernation says:

    Thunder has the Best Overall team Hands Down. And are the Youngest!

  65. Bizzman23 says:

    It’s a lot of Laker hate going around on this blog today. I’m not a fan of LA, but as a basketball fan LA has always put together the best squads. Just when you think they are done “boom” they make a super trade and surprise you. The Lakers have a great starting 5 this season Nash, Bryant, Peace Out, Gasol, and Howard all 5 guys have high basketball IQs, so chemistry will come together before Christmas. Then you have thir bench with Jamison, Ebanks, Meeks, Hill cmon Jamison is an important player who isn’t washed up just YET he’s just no longer a starter in the NBA especially for this team. I expect “Peace Love and Hair Grease” to have good year, because he knows that they have a serious run at winning the finals this and plus he’ll be amnestied next season anyway. So I expect him to beat up on Durant get physical with him if the refs allow it. That’s how MIA won last year sure King James dominated, but going to foul line a million times and Durant sitting long lengths at a time on the bench during the game is not going to help. Lakers pick and roll with Howard and Gasol is going to be deadly how will any defend team defend it. I do however think OKC, has gotten better, but they need more of an offensive gameplan it usually consist of give to Westbrook ISO give to Durant ISO harden comes in give it to him ISO, Durant’s my second favorite player, but he needs to be more of a play maker like Lebron, and for all the people who say Kobe doesn’t get his teammates involved seriously needs to watch the Lakers play Kobe Jacks up shots because no one else wants the damn ball, now he has Nash who is the second best in the league at play making so we will see how much of a team player Bryant is with other Superstars on his team. How quickly have we forgotten that he played with the great Shaq, that era ended 1 year to early, but the personalities clashed because of them both not just Kobe.

  66. LearnTheGame says:

    Come on folks only one team will win and in the NBA there really is no parody. It’s not the NFL, you have to beat a team 4 times to win. I’m not an LA/Miami Fan but I do know enough to know that Miami has the deepest team in the league and LA’s bench will kill them. No bench production and now 82 games. Miami’s team is better built around their star than LA’s. Not even close but Miami repeats

    Any fool that says you would take Nash, Kobe, Pau, Dwight(fresh off back surgery not doing basketball activities) Ron Ron, Jamison, Over LBJ, CB, Wade, Shane, Chamlers, Miller, UD, Ray, Rashard……Is just nuts. Miami is literally stacking the deck and is the only team that can compensate for injuries. If Dwight doesn’t return to form this aint even a question. Plus Miami will have home court because DH won’t be back until probably midway through.

  67. Belizeboy says:

    2008 they said the Celtics wouldn’t beat LA, 2009 they said Lakers wouldn’t win, 2010 they said they wouldn’t repeat, 2011 Miami was supposed to win, then just last season the majority predicted OKC to win. Basically the experts are always wrong or they want us to think a certain way. As a Heat fan I cringed when I saw that they predicted Miami as favorites to win next year.

  68. buttalotus says:

    the Bulls are gonna run through the whole league and take the chip….we’re very angry!!!!!!

  69. jmak says:

    I think OKC probably has the best chance of winning. Obviously the Heat will be the favorites from the Eastern Conference, but OKC was simply stunned and too inexperienced to deal with the Heat in their first Finals appearance. They went from a hard fought game against the lakers, to the western conference finals, to the NBA finals… they keep improving every year. Honestly while the Lakers are improved, they are also older and slower than OKC, and really if you want to give me any Kobe can pull out a win then please at least admit that Durant might be the best basketball player on the planet right now, and certainly can out play Kobe. Westbrook is just too strong and too fast for Nash or Kobe to keep up with and OKC has a great pair of interior defenders in Ibaka and Perkins. How can we have all forgotten already how unstoppable the Spurs looked last year and yet OKC manhandled them. Not to mention that OKC was hardly slowed down at all by the Lakers.

    The largest factor that probably contributes to OKC’s future success can be seen in their past. Overall lack of injuries from their stars. The Lakers are older and are not without injury issues. OKC’s most deadly combo of Westbrook and Durant are young and have never missed any extended length of time due to injuries.

    It’s going to be OKC all the way

  70. LBJ says:

    I just think there is too much mileage on Kobe & Nash to win the Western Conf Finals (let alone the Championship)… No matter how fit you might be, if you’re closing in on 35, injuries will be one small step away… Having said this, I don’t see LA keeping up with OKC’s young guns (who are all explosive & under 25!)… Once Perkins matches with Howard, who on LA can match-up or stop KD or Westbrook? (anyone?)… advantage: Thunder

    • TTKIN says:

      Kobe and Nash take care of their bodies better than anyone in the NBA. They still have the best Center in the league and he is 26. OKC may be young, but age does not correlate to injuries at all (Please see 23 year old Derrick Rose ACL, please see rookie Iman Shumpert ACL). Injuries can happen to anyone.

      And dont buy into what the article said about Perkins defending Howard. Let’s remember the Celtics are the greatest franchise ring-wise. And they gave Perkins away. This is fact:it is impossible for Perkins to MATCH Howard. Perkins will not bescoring 20 pts against dwight. nor will he pull down 15 rebounds and block 4 shots.

      And considering at the end of your post you talk about individual matchups, I guess you missed games 1-6 of the 2011 Finals. Individuals do not win rings, teams do. That being said, I still pick OKC to win it all, but for very different reasons.

      • hornetsfan says:

        the celtics let perkins go because they thought that Jeff Green would be a better addition than he has been (and he still might be when he is healthy).

      • Belizeboy says:

        Age is a factor when talking about injuries. Yes anyone can get injured, but the fact is guys like Nash and Kobe who both have lingering injury problems are at higher risk because of their ages.

        Also looking at your point about Perkins vs Howard I have to say that when matched against Perkins, Howards numbers are lower. Ibaka vs Gasol; Gasol’s numbers are lower. So Kobe will have to be the main scorer in a series vs OKC and we just went through that scenario. Now who on LA can you say lowers the numbers of KD or Westbrook when guarding them?

  71. Alessio says:

    @caloyski you inly can wish for but you know that eventually this will happen.

    Lakers are going to be the 2013 Champions no matter haters and managers say.

  72. Genaro says:

    I AGREE WITH DRDRE23 IM A LAKER FAN I LOVE THAT SUPERMAN CAME TO L.A. BUT THE LAKERS COULD GO TWO WAYS HEAT’S WAY OR THE HATED CELTICS WAY THEY COULD WIN THE CHAMPIONSHIP THIS YEAR LIKE THE CELTICS DID THEIR 1ST YEAR TOGETHER OR MIAM’S WHICH THEY DIDINT WIN IT THEIR 1ST YEAR TOGETHER AND ABOUT OKC I THINK LAKERS COULD BEAT THEM PERKINS MIGHT BE A DWIGHT STOPPER IN THE PAST BUT NOT ANYMORE LOL REMEMBER DWIGHT DIDNT HAD IN OLA WAT HE’S GOING TO HAVE THIS AND HOPEFULLY YEARS TO COME PAU, KOBE, NASH MWP BARNES ANTWAN AND A ROOKIE CALLED ROBERT SACRE

  73. andy han says:

    it’ll probably be heat or celtics to win the title they’re the two best teams in the league everyone else is ok but not as good as them

    • TTKIN says:

      I cant tell if you’re joking or not. You seriously think Boston has a better team than the Lakers/OKC?? I agree that Boston will have an awesome year, but better than OKC?? The Lakers??? And you consider OKC and LAL to be just ok? Durant alone makes OKC better than ok and any of the big 4 in LAL make them better than ok.

  74. nbalolz says:

    not a single james harden highlight…

  75. NBA Lover says:

    I think the team that can stay healthiest for the season (Lakers Miami and Oklahoma) could and should win it all.

  76. kobebbbe says:

    lebron will be defended better, dwade injury, no one likes the thunder anyway they aint winning

  77. drdre23 says:

    why people saying lakers gonna win a championchip, in 2010 when the big 3 came together people said miami gonna win the title but what happened.

  78. Daslickflip says:

    Heat are favourites but not CLEAR favourites
    its not like they have the best lineup period and the best coach period.
    Thunder and Lakers and the dark horses chicago and san antonio can easily pull through
    But until somebody beats the Heat theyre still favourites.
    Thats just how its going to be.

    • rkooly says:

      all u can really hope for is that lebron chokes again, which is extremely unlikely considering he already won it all, so he has absolutely no pressure anymore

    • YoYo says:

      They ARE clear favorite for one reason and one reason only…..That reason goes by the name of LBJ…

  79. mayo says:

    L.A 17 RING COZ ITS TOO MUCH FOR LBJ\DW–KD\RW

  80. Spaz26 says:

    just let the season starts :)

  81. david says:

    oh man!!! this is going to be a very interesting season. many teams are redone. But still I agree HEAT again champions,
    LA and OKC behind.

  82. caloyski says:

    None of these three teams- Los Angeles, Miami and Oklahoma City will emerge Champion–mark my word

  83. how is it a surprise? -_-
    these are the best teams paper-wise/talentwise….I dont see this as a surprise

  84. defdun says:

    Agree that all teams will have a hard time against the Lakers 1-2-3-4 punch and a very good bench. Their outstanding floor general will help them gel quickly, their closer will help them win close games, their incredible big man will close the middle if guys burn by Nash and Kobe, and Pau has always been the difference for the Lakers and he is still not finished with his big-time play as displayed in London during the gold medal game.
    Thunder will rise to the occasion and give them a hard fight, but Lakers will prevail and also beat the Heat/Bulls in the Finals.
    Don’t count out the Bulls, who no one had on the radar for the last 2 seasons, but who managed to win the best record each of those years… D-Rose will come back and lead his team to the East Finals.

    • hornetsfan says:

      I disagree completely.

      Heres how i see it:

      The lakers won’t beat the thunder. Here’s why. First of all, THEY’RE OLD! Dont get me wrong, Kobe is still a top five scorer and Steve Nash is still one of the best at setting other guys up, but i dont see the lakers being able to run with OKC, they couldnt last year and they didnt add any young athletes this offseason so i dont see it happening this year. And what bench are you talking about Jamison is washed up, and Meeks hasnt shown anything since he left kentucky. outside of jordan hill i dont see much energy coming off that bench. As far as Dwight being the difference maker, lets see how well he plays coming back from that back surgery first. lastly, Pau Gasol. If the Pau from the Olympics shows up, great. But theres also a pretty good chance the Pau from the first half of last season will show up! You never know.

      The thunder, who are an under rated defensive club, actually match up well against the lakers. Perkins is a very good and physical defensive center and I think he would do a good job of slowing Howard down. Ibaka will do a good job defending his olympic teamate Gasol as well as erasing or changing a number of shots in the lane. Kobe is tough to stop, or even slow down for that matter, but the thunder have a few pesky defenders they can throw at him. One of them being Durant. I think his length will bother Kobe a bit.

      On the offensive end of the court, KEVIN DURANT. Enough said.

      You said to not count out the Bulls. Why not. What did they do this offseason to get better? I’ll answer that for you, Nothing! If anything they got worse. D Rose is coming off a serious knee injury, and without him that team has no chance at beating the Heat, Celtics, or even the Pacers! And you mentioned the best record the past two seasons. Last time i checked they dont make rings for that.

      Anyways, Once the Thunder beat the Lakers, they’ll have the best shot at dethrowning the champs in a rematch of last year’s finals. I expect Lebron to be every bit as dominating as he was last year and capture his second straight finals MVP as his team will take home the Obrien trophy yet again.

      • Jason says:

        I stoped reading your post after I read the crazy statement that “jamison is washed up”. Let me give you some numbers 17 ppg, 6 rbs, 2 asts, 1 stl, 1 blk. Know what these are, they are Jamison’s stats from last year far from washed up!!!!

  85. leo says:

    That should be LBJ and D-Wade Top 10 Play-off Plays not Heat’s……

    • rkooly says:

      well if u watched the miami heat at all you would know that the other players dont make highlights… all they do is shoot 3 pointers lol

  86. Sosora says:

    The Bobcats, the Kings and the Knicks. These teams can cause some damage.

    • hehehe….. OKC will down the lakers still……. yea yea……..

      • Keevon joyce says:

        OKC beating the laker is a joke for this season. the laker squad is stacked this year.im not sayin beating OKC will be easy but the laker will win

    • LakersFan says:

      I do not agree with the notion that Perkins can defend Dwight and Ibaka can defend Gasol. The bench is not taken into consideration. The lakers have got a wonderfui bench now with the addition of Antwain Jamison and Jodi Meeks. if Jordan Hill continues his good work I do not see any team be it the Heat or Oklahoma Stopping LA.

      Go Lakers

      • bballjunkie1 says:

        I hear you defensively, on those two guys but that is not where the battle will be. Westbrook/Harden/Mainer making Kobe/Steve excert energy playing defense will be the test. This Lakers team can be beat with speed. I agree half court basket ball you will not be able to beat them most nights. But it remains to be seen if OKC really has grown up to keep tempo as opposed to taking individual jumpshots cause the Lakers will kill them if Kobe has legs left in the 4 quarter.

      • hornetsfan says:

        “lakersfan” you’re completely bias! jamison is washed up and wont be too much of a spark and meeks was one of my favorite players when he was at kentucky but hasnt produced in the league. i do agree with you on hill, but thats not enough help off the bench for the aging lakers to beat the thunder who have a pretty good bench and have added thabeet and perry jones. PLUS we still dont know how dwight is going to recover from that back injury, if kobe and nash can coincide, and what gasol will show up this year!

        long story short: the thunder will beat the lakers in 6 and then go on to lose to the heat in 7.

      • TTKIN says:

        Whoever said that made it seem like Perkins can make Dwight basically a non-factor, and same with Ibaka (although Ibaka has the more favorable matchup due to being much younger).

        I think the Lakers are built perfectly for the Thunder right now (and as this article contionuously eludes to, we havent even seen them play so this is easy to say), but Dwight and Pau will lock down the paint, that means Nash and Kobe can play tight D on the perimeter…what was the one complaint Charles Barkley had about OKC last year? All they do is shoot jump shots. Nash and Bryant dont have to worry about keeping up with OKC, cuz even if those younger guys get by, the paint will have 2 seven footers standing there, one of whom is a defensive behemoth.

        Than again, Im pretty sure OKC figured out that the reason they lost to Miami is that all they did was take jumpers, so look for them to make that adjustment.

        I call OKC winning it all. Simply because the Lakers need to learn to play together and no one in the East will take out Miami (except maybe Philly, no one on Miami can stop Drew). And if OKC faces Miami again, OKC wont go down without a huge fight, especially since they all know it may be their last fight with Harden as a teammate. And given that I hate Wade more than anyone in the NBA (and possibly sports), I will root for him to lose until I am in the ground.

      • Lakerfan24life says:

        @hornetsfan you are no fortune teller and do not even know who is going to win the series let alone how many games its going to take. Jamison did a pretty good job for the cavs last year and woll be great off the bench for L.A. And Jodie had one of his best seasons as a pro last year for phili. Its going to be one of the most exciting years the NBA has seen in a while

  87. TNT says:

    The Lakers will win the championship. They have the best talent and complementary roster in the NBA now. It might be a wrap, man.

    • amitpal says:

      The thunder r the one who won the west last year and matchup against the Lakers very. They have an answer for the Lakers advantages and their advantage is the Lakers weakness. Adding Dwight doesn’t make them an athletic team. They r still slow and not a single man on that roster can keep up with Russell. Dwight likes to muscle people know and doesn’t have a great touch and so Perkins can defend him pretty well. Steve who is mtg favorite player is 39 and has really slowed down and will go against arguably the best defending point guard. Russell can lock u down when he wants to. Kobe doesn’t play ggreat against Thebo or Durant cuz Kobe is slow and thebo and Durant r long so Kobe can’t shoot over them. And the bench advantage actually goes to okc. I’d rather have Eric mayor James harden nick Collison Perry jones and what ever there center name is over the Lakers bench anyway and everyday. It’s more complete and guys know there roles plus they r young and fast whereas Lakers is slow. Plus there no guy coming off the bench that u can give the ball to and say go make a play. There isn’t even a true point behind Nash.

      • rkooly says:

        if ramon sessions and steve blake couldnt stop russell westbrook, how exactly will steve nash?

      • James says:

        I must say those are valid points

      • Carl says:

        Russell Westbrook can’t even be considered a point guard, but he’s a streaky shooter, and he won’t be able to get to the rim as much. Needless to say, it’ll be one heck of a matchup.

      • MIAMIWHO says:

        @james and rkooly, you gotta know a little about basketball to know the answer to that question. We all know Steve Nash wont stop anyone pretty much. Again, if you knew anything about basketball, you would know thats not what he was brought to the Lakers for. This is why the Lakers signed Dwight. When the PGs get past Nash he will be there to swat any easy lay ups. Did the Lakers have Dwight last year, no. The had Bynum who we all know isnt as good as Dwight defensivly.

      • GOOD TRY!! says:

        Good try, however you do forget that Steve Nash is one of the best shooters in the NBA and will make Westbrook work twice as hard and Howard is much more athlectic than Perkins so you cannot tell me he can guard Howard by himself, Howard demands double teams. Its true Kobe has trouble with Thabo, however his workload will deminish drastically and use most of his energy in offense oh and its KOBE. Gasol is going back to the post position and doesnt have to shoot from the perimeter and you can pick your poison one v one agaisnt Ibaka or he can dish it to Howard or out to Pure Shooters like Nash Jamison and Meeks. Offensively for the Thunder its only Harden, Westbrook and Durant ( Remember Harden disappeared in the Finals) However i see Thunder more of a threat than the Heat. For me the Lakers are better matched up against the Heat. All i know is that the Thunder were really lucky for some mistakes Lakers had in the playoffs, but their IQ increased damatrically.. PEACE!!

      • YoYo says:

        Steve Nash wont stop Westbrook but he got big D12 in the middle who can if westbrook or anyone else decide to try the paint…But Heat repeat!!!

      • Denzo says:

        nash doesnt need to stop anyone. hes the smartest guy on the court, he’ll use his amazing help dwight.. whilst not jacking up more shots than their star kobe, missing a ton, and a heap of turnovers.. like westbrook does.

      • nick says:

        @amitpal bro did you even watch the series between the lakers??? the Lakers were so close in 2 of the 4 games that they lost that they could of potentially had a 3-2 lead over okc so i don’t know what your talking about and since the addtion on Steve and D12 , the lakers look likwe they’re in a good spot against the Okc thunder plus Okc has the pending decison of Harden who may have to leave the team which I feel will upset the whole team as their bench will diminish greatly…. So Imo Lakers are the favourite to win it all

      • DBlazzz33 says:

        @rkooly Nash dosent need to. If westbrook drives the lakers have Dwight in the paint, and we all know how much westbrook likes driving.

      • QuestionMark says:

        Nice points and @GOOD TRY, Howard struggled against the Celtics a few years ago alot and that was because of KG and Perkins, Perkins is a great low post defender and lucky for him that is how Howard plays, in the low post, Ibaka may not be KG, but he is the best shot blocker in the league, if you include Howard’s back injury, he is gonna struggle. I won’t call the Lakers mistakes luck last Playoffs, its more like the Thunder’s defense caused it. If you forget Gasol played terrible last Playoffs, Howard might be athletic, but his back injury will slow him down a bit, and again Perkins is a terrific post defender.

    • slider821 says:

      Not sure if the Lakers will win it but very interested to see how the Princeton offense works with Dwight and Nash in the mix. It will be an exciting offensive scheme to watch develop.

      I think Dwight’s Magic ran the Princeton, but have the Lakers with Kobe or has Nash ever run Princeton schemes?

      Either way, the Princeton rotations and Nash’s dishing ability will make Gasol get great mid-range looks and opportunities to drive to the basket that I think we lacked last year.

    • Coltyboy says:

      Lol, sounds like what everyone said about the Heat 2 years ago… Lakers will NOT make the finals this year.

    • DropinKnowledge says:

      Aside from all these Kobe haters and Lebron haters, alot of people that actually know basketball are making alot of sense here in this blog. Those that dont know basketball are talking about how nash cant gaurd westbrook…that doesnt matter and basketball wise people know why,,if you dont, Im not helping you out. and those that are saying that OKC has a team perfect for facing the lakers…again im not helping you out and explaining how wrong that is. And those dismissing the heat because they pretty much only have Lebron and Dwade and were lucky they got 1 ring…people who know and watched basketball in the 90′s know that SOMETIMES all it takes is just 1 great player and 1 good player to make a team of nobodies into a team that is unstopable. As far as OKC.. Never underestimate the the heart and will of a team that is skilled in so many positions and gets up and down the court faster than the cameras can zoom. And watch out for the other teams that had players in the Olympics..NY, NJ or Brooklnd, LAC, ohh and N.O…Ive watched many Olympic teams..Starting with the Dream team, and ive never seen a team feed off each other like these guys did this year (other than the dream team). cp3′s and dwill, and the rook, OMG and MELLO(aka freakin LIGHTS OUT!) these guys played and faught with the best and are going home to teach what they learned….I CANT WAIT FOR THE SEASON TO START!!!! ( sorry i wrote so much, i love this game and am psyced!)