Now that teams are finalized for the most part, we can start to see how the Lakers match-up again some of the best teams in the west. I will start with the team that I think poses the biggest threat in the west for the Lakers. This doesn’t necessarily mean they are the best in the west, but they pose potential match-up problems for the Lakers.

I will also predict what would happen if they met in a seven game series with neutral home-court advantage. Also, before I start talking about other teams, let it be known — I do think the Lakers are the best team in the NBA.

1) The Spurs are easily the second best team in the NBA in my opinion. Many people still have them at number one, but I think we just have them in terms of talent.

Let’s start with the big men. Most teams can’t stop Duncan, but with Bynum, the Lakers actually match up pretty well. I expect to see Kurt Thomas get a lot of playing time alongside Duncan, and I’m pretty sure we will move Pau on him. What works great for the Lakers is that Lamar can roam on defense and help on the inside with Duncan. The Spurs don’t have a SF that can really hurt Lamar. Kobe can slow down Manu of course.

The biggest problem is Tony Parker. The Lakers don’t have anyone fast enough to stay in front of him. The Duncan/Parker pick and roll is a Laker killer and they need to find a way to stop it.

Starters Edge: Even

Bench Edge: Lakers

Coaching Edge: Even

Prediction In Playoffs: Lakers in 7 games.

2) The Suns didn’t look that great last night, yet they only lost by 6. Unfortunately for them, the Lakers didn’t have Bynum and still won — on the road. With Shaq, at least the Suns have a chance to make it interesting. They match up well on all ends with the Lakers, but when it comes down to it, the Lakers have Kobe Bryant, and they don’t. The Lakers also play defense, and they don’t. The Suns improved, but still will miss Marion.

Starters Edge: Lakers

Bench Edge: Lakers

Coaching Edge: Lakers

Prediction In Playoffs: Lakers in 6 games.

3) Many people don’t think these Hornets team could win in the playoffs, mostly because they didn’t have a bench. Well today, they changed that by adding Bonzi Wells and Mike James, two great additions.

What I like about this team is that they have one of the best passers in the game in Chris Paul, who can dish it to great shooters like Peja, Mo Pete, and even David West. While they don’t have great size, Chandler can shut down most PF’s. I don’t think he can do the same against centers.

The biggest problem for the Hornets is that they don’t have anyone who can even try to guard Kobe. Pau might get slowed by Chandler, but Kobe can’t.

Starters Edge: Lakers

Bench Edge: Lakers

Coaching Edge: Lakers

Prediction In Playoffs: Lakers in 4 games.

4) Utah always played well against the old Lakers who had a smaller team. Now that the Lakers have grown by about 4 inches, The Jazz just don’t have enough size to battle. Okur and Boozer are great scorers, but who can they guard on the Lakers?

The Lakers will have trouble guarding them as well because Gasol will have to come out on Okur and the Lakers don’t have a defender for Deron Williams. But when it is all said and done, size matters and the Jazz just don’t have it anymore. While I don’t think they are as good as the Hornets, the matchup problems they pose for the Lakers might give them a win.

Starters Edge: Lakers

Bench Edge: Lakers

Coaching Edge: Lakers

Prediction In Playoffs: Lakers in 5 games.

5) Dallas might have helped their jersey sales by adding Kidd but they hurt their chances at winning. The west is full of size and they basically traded a tall PG and their starting center for another point guard. I don’t think it was an awful trade, but I also don’t think it was a great trade.

They needed size after the Lakers, Suns, and Spurs bolstered up and just didn’t do it. They still pose a problem matching up with the Lakers. The Lakers can’t stop Dirk. Do you put Lamar on him or Gasol? The other one has to guard Josh Howard. In this series, I might consider Lamar as a sixth man because Ariza might do better against Howard. Howard is also a good defender against Kobe and Eddie Jones knows Kobe very well. Kidd also plays him well. The Mavs also have a deadly bench with Stackhouse and Terry.

Starters Edge: Lakers

Bench Edge: Even

Coaching Edge: Lakers

Prediction In Playoffs: Lakers in 7 games.

Honorable Mentions: Houston and Denver. Both teams that can get hot and do major damage in the playoffs. But both teams are also easily first round exits.

Lastly, I want to add that the team that scares me the most is Cleveland. Even before today’s blockbuster trade the Lakers were 0-2 against the Cavaliers. The Lakers don’t have an answer for LeBron and now the Cavs can match up against the Lakers bigs with Ben Wallace playing PF. While I rank the Cavs about 5 in the NBA, I think they would take the Lakers to 7 games in a playoff series.

  • Caleb

    Come on. A SWEEP of the Hornets? This was a little too homer-ish for me.

  • GettinDome!

    Ronny turiaf has been very effective defending tim duncant. i think the lakers would put tons of pressure on them and we would take the spurs in 5 or 6.

  • Phant0M

    Id say 5 in hornets..

    and 5 in PHX.

  • Kobe08-09

    6 Spurs 5 Suns 5 Hornets 6 Dallas and 4 Cavs

  • kobeftw

    [Comment ID #27109 Will Be Quoted Here]

    I’ll see you at the parade.

  • Thomas

    Six games for Phoenix and 5 for New Orleans. But the rest of it I agree with.

  • lakerz

    4 phx 4 hornets 4 spurs 4 dallas 4 jazz :)

  • lkr4lfe

    I actually wouldnt even put Dallas in that top 5 since they have gotten smaller after that trade. In my opinion I dont think they even improved at all. Yea they got JKidd but he isnt a great shooter and if you can put a good defender on him (kobe or Ariza) you stop the flow of the offense. Easy fix. They don’t have any interior defense. We would have 60 plus points in the paint. The way Dirk plays in the playoffs also puts us at an advantage. I would put Denver in that 5 spot.

  • iLakers

    forget this playoff talk…i can’t wait to see the Lakers feast on the Clips.

    Kobe for 90pts….hahaha

  • lakersisbomb

    [Comment ID #27119 Will Be Quoted Here]


  • Lakers2410

    Even if the Cavs got Big Ben and others, they still don’t defend, score or run an offense better than the Lakers! Mavs in 7, doubt it. I think it’ll be 6, not 7. The Suns in 6 or so, Spurs in 6 or 7, Jazz 5 or so, Hornets 4 (trust me, sure, Hornets are good in the season, but they don’t have the right playoff experience, they need to wait a little longer), Rockets and Nuggets aren’t good enough, or fast enough to win against the Lakers, Yao is slow, Camby is slow, both teams don’t have the defenders to contain all 4 of the Lakers’ BIG4, which include Mamba, The Spanish Nightmare, Bynumite, and The Goods. Overall, the teams we should be afraid of the “most” (emphasised “most” because they can beat those teams) are pretty much these 2 teams: Pistons and Spurs. Pistons because they have really good defense, really good shooters, and a great bench. The Spurs because they have alot of playoff experience, they can rebound, they defend fantastically, and they can bomb the open 3 (in case you guys haven’t been paying attention to the Spurs’ games, you can see that they get a ton of open 3s)! If you guys don’t believe me or want to believe me, OK, that’s alright, but remember, I warned you all…

  • ignard

    I see the Lakers and Suns going 7 games w/Lakers winning

  • JB714

    7 spurs 6 suns 5 hornets 6 utah 6 dallas
    4 houston/denver/any seventh or eighth seed
    w/ lakers winnin all
    *lakers will take cavs in 5 cuz lebron chokes under pressure and wallace isnt much of a threat and 7 against pistons

  • lakerz

    [Comment ID #27129 Will Be Quoted Here]

    i dont think LeBron chokes under pressure. almost all there wins are comebacks at the 4th quarter.
    but were still going to beat them in any series no doubt.

  • kobe bryant

    wat bout celtics my niggaz

  • lakerschamps08

    umm who cares how we do as long as we do it and WIN THE SHIP….right???

  • MILO

    Why would Steve say the Cavs???I dont understand why mention the Cav’s before Detroit and Boston! it makes no sense.The way i see it the Cav’s wont be coming out of the east i think it’s going to be a good seven game eastern conference finals between Boston and Detroit….

  • Tyler

    a sweep on the hornets mabye 5 games but i like ur mindset.

    and the jazz well beat there ass i think not 7 mabye 5 if there lucky and if there really lucky 6

  • MILO

    [Comment ID #27126 Will Be Quoted Here]

    no way the Lakers own Phony! i say Lakers in 5 or 6 at the most…

  • Artpolo5

    wowww..Cavs would take Lakers in 7 games…ARE YOU KIDDING??!!

    no one in the league can match up with the Lakers right now with the way there playing..the Laker’s are on another level that no one in the NBA can match…Pau and Kobe are great together…and don’t forget they were playing like this with Bynum before Pau even came. And when the young guy comes back, Lakers are gonna have the twin towers (just like Duncan and Robinson), but with Kobe and Odom. And now that the Lakers have a true bench, size, defense, (and lets not forget D-Fish) and an excited Kobe there gonna go back to repeating year after year again. And i just wanted to say i’m glad Fish is back to LA cuz this guy deserves to win more rings with Kobe, hes one of the best guys in the league and true Laker.

    That is all, Lakers are gonna be Champs, and Kobe’s finally gonna get a season MVP(or maybe 2 or 3).

  • Brett

    I don’t think a single series would go past 6 games with lakers. They’ll be too dominant. Too big up front, and with kobe and fish, there’s no worries with any team in my opinion.

  • Brett

    and if anyone is worried about Celtics, don’t worry at all. Gasol and Bynum will eat up their front like a fat man and a twinkie.

  • Niko Sports Blog

    i dont think the lakers is this strong. i also pick the lakers as the strongest team if you have to choose one, but i dont think they will dominate like how u described them here. i dont think they can sweep the hornets…plus, i think you underrated the jason kidd trade.

  • Brett

    *eating a twinkie

  • drake hunter

    Lastly, I want to add that the team that scares me the most is Cleveland. Even before today’s blockbuster trade the Lakers were 0-2 against the Cavaliers. The Lakers don’t have an answer for LeBron and now the Cavs can match up against the Lakers bigs with Ben Wallace playing PF. While I rank the Cavs about 5 in the NBA, I think they would take the Lakers to 7 games in a playoff series.

    The NBA and referees have alot to do with why Lebron and the Cavs always beat Kobe and the Lakers. They want to make Lebron look good vs Kobe and the only way to do that is to have the Cavaliers beat the Lakers so that Lebron comes out on top. Lebron is David Sterns boy toy. As I can re-call the last three games where the Lakers played the Cavs, it’s been very controversial and the Lakers were always leading in the 4th and then Cleveland some how miraculously comes back with the help of referrees and questionable calls to take the win away from Kobe and the Lakers. The Cavs don’t have our number they just have David Stern and the refs to help them beat us

  • awesomerob24

    now this was a good article

    unlike the last one

  • sirtoken

    I’m a Laker Fan, so I’m pulling for the Lakers to take it all, but with that said;
    We must remember that the Lakers are full of young players who are just now establishing their game. The Spurs and Celtics have veterans that have honed go too moves that are money in the bank. The Celtic and Spur defense rattled the Lakers into disarray. The only Laker that could withstand the pressure was Kobe. Now, we probably have another with Gasol. Bynum, Odom, Farmer all got “lost”. So, the big question is can the Lakers mature into a Champion in about 35 games? Will Bynum come back in time and develop more low post position skills and a go too shot to thwart the likes of Kevin Garnett? Will the addition of Gasol, who is the real deal, be enough in pressure games? The deciding shot could come down to role players like Farmar or Vujacic. Can they make the big 3 under pressure like they will see in the playoffs. So ,i see the biggest challenge is the San Antonio Spurs and if we get through them, then the Celtics who beat us easily, although without Gasol.
    The Lakers have an easy schedule coming up the next few weeks. They should play Farmar and Vujacic as much as possible, I think we are going to be depending on a big shot from one of them in the playoffs.

  • LakeShow24/7

    Lakers 16-0 Playoff run


  • pjt

    sorry but the Lakers don’t care who they play…this is Phil’s MO…it’s all about how the Lakers play…trust me they don’t care who they play…if we play to our ability…the sky is the limit…bling of gold…

  • Kwame Brown

    I miss playing for you guys, but then again I’m looking forward to my summer vacation….

  • Kwame Brown

    [Comment ID #27151 Will Be Quoted Here]

    ummmmm, twinkie sounds good…

  • lakerfan81

    I think you are underestimating Utah. I think right now they may be the second best team in the West. That may change depending on Shaq’s health and how he fits; I don’t think he helps much on defense but he should as he did against the lakers) help Amare out a lot. That also depends on the health of SA. They are not getting any younger but if they are healthy they are still the champs. But for now I think Utah is the second best team in the West.

  • Keep Odom

    No matter what additions or subtractions other teams make we are better in all aspects of the game. So, with a Healthy Bynum we have NO! weakness’ and if we do they are minor compared to other teams because as they cover one weakness they uncover another. With the Lakers we have two things than no other teams in the West have, A closer. In the East only Lebron barely even comes close to smelling Kobe’s Jok! Can Nash, Kidd, Dirk, Garnett, Duncan, Parker or any of those so called MVP candidates close a game? Hell NO! We have the most complete team in years and everyone is shaking in their boots (especially the Fake-Nix Suns). We have a Center, deep Bench, legit Power Forward, Great defense, and a closer. The perfect recipe for a Ship. Does anyone else have all of those things? I think not! Lakers Champs 2008,2009…………..(dynasty)

  • Keep Odom

    One more thing…..The X factor in this years playoffs and maybe for years to come is going to be Lamar Odom. Just look at what he did to Phoenix because they concentrated so much on Gasol and Kobe. I wouldn’t worry too much about T. Parker. He has a bum wheel and we can always put Ariza on him. Remember this, it is going to be Odom’s rebounding and his ability to score off of Kobe, Pau and Bynums misses or his cuts to the basket. No other player in the NBA causes those match up problems at that position. Compare us to any starting five and you will see what I mean. The only other player that came close to him and might of even been better was Marion. But he is no longer here. If the Lakers play the Fake-nix Suns, they will either get swept or maybe even win one game.

  • xtro

    Lakers vs Celtics in the NBA Finals, y’all!
    Good times are back again!!

  • Kristian

    The Lakers would kill the Cavs, who lost so much perimeter defense in the trade they just did. As long as the Lakers would show up to play, there is no question that the Lakers would sweep. But I agree, I really hope that the Lakers don’t meet with the Spurs until the Conference Finals.


    The ONLY team that can give Lakers fits is……NONE OF THEM ‘CAUSE THE LAKERS ARE TOO BUSY GIVING EVERYBODY FITS. When The Lakers got Gasol The whole Western Conference changed. Lakers went from “not going to be very good team”(Barkley’s comments)to one of the Elite Teams,WOW,funny how everyone NOW wants to be down with the NATION AND THE ONLY THING THAT SCARES ME IS WHEN AB AND TREV GET BACK.LO/AB/,YEEEEAAAAAHHH BOYEEEEEEEEE!!!(AND WHY ISN’T ANYBODY TALKIN”BOUT THOSE HORNETS)

  • rasarx

    I would hold my final judgement on where the chips fall until I see the chemistry of all the aforementioned teams to see how they work out. It’s easy to see the impact of the Gasol trade now that we have seen them play 7 magnificent games together. We have only seen one for a few of these teams that went through the trades. As much as I have maligned the Suns I think they potentially pose the biggest challenge. We should get a clue how their team is gelling after watching them play Boston and Detroit the next couple of days. They must win at least one of them for me to give them a chance, especially the Boston game since KG is not 100 percent. If they lose both of them games I’d say everything we have suspected about their trade is true. Keep an eye on their defense and how many points they allow. If their defense is as full of holes as it was against the Lakers, so much for Shaq boosting their defense. That one stat against the Lakers was the biggest evidence against that trade.

    San Antonio has potentially improved their chances by adding KT (and his large salary). Once they get Parker back they could be up there again.


    Anybody think The Lakers could’ve traded Luke for Maggette(Damn Houston got G.Green,I hate them now)?

  • LakersPride24

    The Lakers only real challenge in their path to the Finals is the Spurs. The Suns traded their best defensive player for an overweight, washed up center. The Hornets are too young. Their reign as the #1 seed in the West won’t last. The Mavericks improve with Kidd, but they are weak in the middle. They have no big men to combat the Lakers. The Spurs will put up a good fight. In the end the Lakers will still win. Let’s hope the Celtics make it to the Finals. Renew the greatest rivalry in the history of the NBA!

  • Keep Odom

    I wish they could of traded Luke for Maggette. How about Luke for anyone? To think he was a starter the past two years…no wonder we couldn’t get past the 1st round. I would much rather see The Machine come off the bench rather Luke. No one has been patient with Odom how about Luke? Why should we be more patient with him?

  • LakersFirst (Change) (Close)

    [Comment ID #27156 Will Be Quoted Here]

    You forgot Derek Fisher, you know the Lakers starting point guard!! Remember 0.4 seconds. 3 championships. Kobe’s not the only one on the Lakers with championship experience. The Lakers have more NBA finals experience than any of the Boston players.

  • LakersFirst

    [Comment ID #27186 Will Be Quoted Here]

    …and why would the Clippers want Luke Walton and his long term contract in exchange for Maggette (and don’t say because Maggette is going to opt out and they need to get something for him because they would let him walk before trading him away for a long term contract, unless that long term player is an all-star)???

    Also, I think Gerald Green is overrated. He hasn’t shown me anything in the NBA, which is why he is now being passed around from team to team.

  • Keep Odom

    Good point on the Spurs. But who on the Celtics has championship experience? Garnett is a good leader but how many of them will crumble under pressure in a Championship series. When was the last time Pierce, Garnett and Allen have been in a Championship series? Not only that but what about the pressure that a coach experiences? How much experience does he have in Championship games. If the games are close, who on the Celtics has the experience to push through a series. Has Garnett, Allen or Pierce ever put a team on their back to put them through a hard fought series? Kobe and Phil J. have more experience in those situations and plus with as good a closer as as Kobe is we have the upper hand.

  • Jak

    hey, how can you talk about the spurs and leave Manu and Bowen’s defense on Kobe aside? Manu has been having 40 points games lately. Bowen is still a headache for Kobe.

    Bottom line, the road to finals from west still goes through San antonio. Regardless of how spurs are playing right now, come playoff time, they know how to get thigns done. For Laker fans, its best to avoid any of Spurs, Suns or Mav’s court in the first round. Only way to do this is to be either be on top or second at the conference, which I think the Lakers can.

    By the way, that team Hornets: I know they have a great future, but they won’t last long anywhere in the west. They are truely a first round exit, but why the fcuk are they taking that first spot giving Laker fans headaches?? Get the fcuk away from us Hornets. Phoenix, you probably need to wait another long time to win something. Marion is just too much of a loss for you suckers.


    Because I just did,on the TRADE MACHINE, Luke & Vlad for Maggette & Dickau (Don’t know about Dickau but getting CM is better than Luke,THAT’S ALL I’M SAYING).

  • KONG!

    [Comment ID #27152 Will Be Quoted Here]

    I COMPLETELY agree. It’s not lebron’s fault though, it’s david stern and his lacky refs. The refs always blow the whistle for lebron and wade but never for KOBE or CARMELO.

    This is because of Kobe’s court cases and Carmelo’s fight. These incidents have put them on david stern’s hit list.

    It is sad, but this is why I think Kobe or Melo will never be MVP…



    F!@# Stern!!!

  • LakersFirst

    [Comment ID #27234 Will Be Quoted Here]

    Of course it works on the trade machine. There are thousands of trades that will work on the trade machine, but most of the trades are crap. There is no way the clippers would want luke and vlad in exchange for Maggette. First, the contracts for luke and vlad are $10M/year (that alone isn’t appealing to other teams). Second, why would the Clippers want to help the Lakers? Lastly, why would the Clippers want to give up Dan Dickau? He’s been their only healthy point guard.


    Like I said before ,the Grizzlies,like the Clippers aren’t EEEEEEEEVER GOING TO THE FINALS. I’M FROM WASH.,DC(FOR THE MILLIONTH TIME)so I’ve seen some of the most idiotic trades ever known to the NBA,plus Maggette stays in LA,so it works and if need be there’s always the ever reliable 3rd team option if The Lakers can’t give Luke away. I not a mathematician so I’m not a numbers guy,I just want my favorite team to keep winning and bringin’ in those trophies even after Kobe leaves(in about 5 to 6 years). Ask yourself this question Lakerfirst,WOULDN’T YOU LOVE TO A MAGGETTE OR JOSH SMITH ON YOUR SQUAD. I’m not concerned about what will work for other teams,JUST THE LAKERS AND I’m just giving my observation on WHO WOULD FIT PERFECTLY WITH THE TRIANGLE,again,JOSH SMITH(OR WHOEVER YOU FEEL).,GIVE ME CHAMPIONSHIPS OR GIVE ME DEATH!!!

  • LakersFirst (Change) (Close)

    [Comment ID #27291 Will Be Quoted Here]

    I’ll go one further, let’s trade Radman, Walton, Coby Karl, Chris Mihm and Odom for Kevin Garnett!!!! Let’s do that, I think that’s realistic!!! Come on, Lets do it!! Come on I think Boston will do that. Why wouldn’t they do it? Boston would do it!!! Come on Mitch, Boston would do that trade, EASY!

    I hear ya about wanting the Lakers to win. I want the Lakers to win too but you have to be realistic about trades.

    Come on, real GMs have to take considering what other teams will want (that’s the definition of a trade, a give and take). You should ask yourself, why would the Clippers want Walton and Radman when their contracts for one year are over $10M?? Why would they want to give up Corey Maggette when they haven’t come close to trading him in the past 4 years (Donald Sterling, the owner of the Clippers loves Maggette)!! Also, pick up the newspaper every once in a while and read what Maggette has been saying. He wants out of the clippers for MORE MONEY!!! The Clippers wouldn’t get any benefit from trading for Walton or Radman, just long term contracts, which is the OPPOSITE of teams rebuilding want!!!