HOOPSWORLD: What a difference a year makes. At this point last season, the Los Angeles Lakers were contemplating trade offers for star guard Kobe Bryant. Now they’re arguably the favorite to come out of the Western Conference . . .

Of course 14 other teams will challenge them over the course of the 82-game regular season schedule – and the three rounds of the conference playoffs. Of the 14, five stand out as serious threats:

1) Portland Trail Blazers – The Blazers weren’t a playoff team last year but they seriously have their eyes on the eighth playoff spot (at a minimum). Portland could be this year’s New Orleans Hornets – the young team that finally puts it together. If they can finally stay healthy, the Blazers have a scary roster and a knack for giving the Lakers a very hard time – especially in Portland.

Playing against guards Derek Fisher, Sasha Vujacic, Jordan Farmar and Bryant – the Blazers have Brandon Roy, Steve Blake (always a problem for the Lakers) and rookies Jerry Bayless and Rudy Fernandez. To match up with LA’s front court of Andrew Bynum, Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom, Portland offers Greg Oden, LaMarcus Aldridge and either Martell Webster or Travis Outlaw. Channing Frye’s ability to face up and shoot and Joel Przybilla’s physicality give Coach Nate McMillan a pair of very different weapons off the bench.

If the Lakers do indeed win the West and draw the Blazers in the first round, that’s going to be an epic series that could derail LA’s title hopes early in the game . . .

Continue reading ‘Threats – The West’

  • mike

    how you say threats in then talk about 1` team ???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? get off them yea they look good but come on now

  • inigo

    there’s a link that says continue reading ‘threats – the west’. it might give you a hint that what you read is not all it was,so you might wanna point the cursor and clink on the link.believe me you can do it.i know you can.

    Lakers do not worry about any team in the nba.it’s the other way ’round.

  • Shaq786

    #1: LAL/MEM TRADE:

    Lakers trade odom, farmar, mihm …. FOR OJ mayo AND Hakim Warrick

    #2: LAL/MIN:

    Lakers trade: Ariza, rights to Joe crawford, and V.rad… for Mike Miller

    Sign Bonzi Wells and DJ Mbenga

    Line up:

    D-FISH/OJ/yue
    kobe/sasha/bonzi
    Miller/bonzi/walton
    gasol/warrick/powell
    bynum/gasol/DJ

  • Shaq786

    THE REASON i AM SUGGESTING THIS IS BECAUSE… PORTLAND IS NOT ONLY A THREAT THIS YEAR, BUT YEARS TO COME… If we do this, we have a bright future… ALSO, if Kobe opts out (for us to sign a really good free agent)… we go under the cap, which means we will becoming dominant and form another dynasty…!

  • DCLAKER

    I say Portland also.These guys are goin’ to be ridiculous and I can’t believe we passed on a chance to get Rudy Fernandez,I’m still pissed about that.

    Shaq786,I like that you put OJ Mayo down with us,though I think he be a Laker when that contract is up…Bynum and OJ,nice ring to it.

  • yellowpurplefever

    I said it before and now its official. The Blazzers are back with a great future. Again, lack of experience will put them at 7th or 8th in the West. Can’t wait Bynum vs. Oden, the future battle for best centers.

  • Lakers 24 7

    [Comment ID #50337 Will Be Quoted Here]

    We had trouble against Portland while we had Gasol, but with Bynum returning, it will be different, still tough cuz Portland has Oden, but the advantage will be for us cuz I think after the tough loss to the Celtics, our guys are gonna come back better.

    I cant wait for the new season!!

  • Freshh

    shaq stfu

  • VIda

    Hold up is he putting blazers number one to come out of the west or is this like a wild card thing…
    what ever it is it doesnt matter cuz its just freaking opinion!
    like they said lakers would be number 8 seed last year!

  • jonathan

    the author is an idiot plain & simple, lakes will sweep the blazers, hornets, jazz etc. everyone except maybe the celtics, which will be 4-1 or 4-0 w/ bynum back

  • Zen Master

    Please, Shaq786, we all appreciate your concerns for the lakers’ future, but your trade and free agent suggestions do not make any sense.

    - They might want DJ, but they know they can find better talent.
    - Even if they could sign Bonzi, they wouldn’t at this point. There are already too many SF and guards so Bonzi the F/G doesn’t fit on this team. Besides, I said “even if they could.” The problem is they can’t. That’s why they are signing rookies to minimum contracts. They have no more room or cap to sign big time free agents!
    - OJ is good, can’t argue. But at this point of time, not even OJ and Warrick combined can equal to Odom’s value or salary. Ask any expert. If their current value and salary don’t match up to Odom’s, then why would you also add Mihm and Farmar? Mihm was a solid center on his first Laker season (healthy year). Farmar is the future point guard. So you see, even if you cross out Odom and trade Farmar + Mihm for Warrick and OJ, their salaries don’t match. Talent wise, Warrick and OJ are better, but being short on big men why would you give Mihm?
    - Excuse me, Ariza, Crawford, and Vlad for just Mike Miller? Come on. Who would give up Ariza ALONE for Miller? All Miller is, is a shooter. Trust me, he will never be anything else. I wouldn’t trade Vlad for JUST Miller either. Vlad’s shooting ability around the same notch as Miller’s. Miller has better dribbling, but is a smaller + weaker player (hint: just compare their arms). 3 for 1? Never. Miller is not a superstar!

    None of this criticism is against you, Shaq786. It’s just… that none of your suggestions make any sense. Those 2 free agents won’t be signed. Maybe DJ, not Bonzi. Your trades are ridiculous. EACH, and I do mean EACH is more likely to ruin the Lakers than it will help them. I am still puzzled at your 3 for 1 Miller trade. And what, giving up a future pg, versatile forward, and a solid center is going to help you? No.

  • Lakers24-7-365

    Why are you guys scared of portland RIGHT NOW? I mean yeah they got a good looking future and that crap, but freaking they are inexperinced. Dont be scared of them now.