We are newbies to the itnernet domain game, not afraid to admit it. Big brother (and shameless Laker fan) Glenn Reno is helping us out with a little position breakdown for the playoffs. We’ll be throwing in our Finals preview tomorrow, after, you know, we’ve made a wager. With no further ado……
Los Angeles Lakers vs Orlando Magic : A positional breakdown for the 2009 NBA Finals
by: Glenn Reno (http://www.glennreno.com)
The NBA finals are here, and there is no better time to talk about some of the key match ups between the two teams. It’s been joked many times before that the NBA is just a one man sport where one player can make the difference between the team winning or loosing and in a sense it’s absolutely right. Don’t get me wrong you need a solid 1-2 punch and a deep bench to get your self through the playoffs but to make sure you come out ahead in a best of 7 series you need to have a difference maker, a player who is so clutch even if you’re up 10 at the start of the 4th you’re still nervous and impatiently waiting for the next 12 minutes to finish up, or if you’re on the other side of the ball down 10 in the 4th quarter with plenty of time remaining you’re not even anxious more so calm than anything.
Starting off with the point guard position, as always the Lakers biggest weakness has been quick point guards but keep in mind has never been the difference maker between a series won or lost. Looking back on the regular season the Magic are 2-0 vs the Lakers, and Jameer Nelson was the leading scorer in both games. Now Nelson has been out for quite some time now but there have been rumors that Nelson plans to suit up and play some minutes but as Brandon has said and I believe it’s more of a confidence boost for the Magic rather than a true threat to the Lakers. Rafer Alston who in my opinion has been the biggest injury replacement in the league and a savior to the Magic’s season can shoot the ball a bit better than Fisher and defiantly has the speed advantage but Fisher has an unlimited amount of experience and leadership and has the determination to never quit. Anthony Johnson is third string at best and you throw in Shannon Brown and Jordan Farmar and you have to give the Lakers the edge at the point guard position.
Point Guard: Lakers 1 – Magic 0 (Ed. This is A HUGE STRETCH…)
At the shooting guard position there really isn’t a comparison. I’d be lying if I said there was Kobe Bryant is the absolute best player in the NBA currently and if you disagree then you don’t know basketball. You’re team could be up 10 at the start of the 4th quarter and you’re still sweating the seconds out impatiently hoping that some way some how it doesn’t get closer and come down to a last second shot and the ball is in Kobe’s hands. The guy is the Mariano Rivera (in his prime) of basketball. Courtney Lee and Mickael Pietrus will have their shot at Kobe but it’ll be nothing but a speed bump to Mr. Kobe, throw in J.J. Redick and that’s nothing but a tiny pot hole for Kobe’s 18 wheeler (no homo). Pietrus is a solid defender and between the two they pretty much split the position 50/50. I believe Pietrus is a better defender and shooter but Lee is a better free throw shooter (Ed. Lee is a tougher matchup, they need to both be on the floor). Coming off the bench the Lakers have Vujacic due to a three point guard rotation, Sasha plays a limited amount of time because Kobe is generally in for the majority of the game he’s came up big a few times but as long as he plays smart he’s doing his job.
Shooting Guard: Lakers 2 – Magic 0
The forward position is there things start to look promising for the Magic. Hedo Turkoglu and Rashard Lewis are tall players who play perimeter basketball, this will be a key matchup where Lamar Odom will need to step up his defensive game and stick around outside rather than midrange or in the paint and Trevor Ariaza will have to continue to make amazing plays on the defensive end to make up for the shots Hedo and Rashard are bound to make. Rashard Lewis is the best three point shooter in the game until the fourth quarter comes around and Kobe just seems to swag splash on everyone. Pau Gasol will be a major player in this series because he tends to play low in the post on offense and that’s where he scores most of his points, and Hedo and Rashard are opposites.
Forwards: If Hedo and Rashard can continue to drain three’s like crazy it goes to the Magic, otherwise it’s Lakers all day. Lakers have too much depth in these two positions between Gasol, Odom, Ariaza and Walton. Lakers 2.5 – Magic 1.5
The center position for the Lakers is some what questionable, the only true center they have on the team is Andrew Bynum, some say he was the key reason the Lakers lost the finals last year vs the Celtics. I believe this as well, I would of liked to have had Bynum in last years series vs the Celtics and seen what he would of done vs big baby and Perkins who seemed to somehow score at will every time the game got close. Dwight Howard has without the advantage at the center position, this man is the best center in the league and he does his job well, however this will be the first time Howard is tested in the playoffs. If Bynum and Gasol are together in the paint they’ll have the advantage but this isn’t going to happen all the time and the Lakers can’t let it because a double team on Howard means that Hedo or Rashard are probably going to be open. This is going to be a big difference maker and a great matchup to watch, will it be the matchup that decides the series? Not really sure but I can at least say it’ll play a big part. (Ed. Had to butt in here, if the Lakers don’t outrebound this team, they have ZERO chance to win the series… I’ll tell you why tomorrow).
Center: Magic 2.5 – Lakers 2.5
The Lakers have the better bench with or without Jameer Nelson playing for the Magic, at any given time they have solid backups at every position plus the Lakers have been here before, they have some season vets, and the majority of the team already knows what it feels like to loose a championship. Throw Phil Jackson in the mix who will absolutely son Stan Van Gundy and you have a recipe for a championship.
Bench / Coaching: Lakers 4.0 – Magic 2.5
Kobe will have his championship pinky ring, LeBron James will have had gone M.I.A (We’ve already seen it last week when they lost game 6) and Shaq will consider coming back for LA (I wish)