We’re counting down the days till the start of the new season, and it’s about time for everyone to be making predictions. This year, instead of just doing one prediction, I decided to go out and interview one blogger for every NBA team.
The bloggers whose opinions we will be graced with over the next few weeks are the best of the best, as all of them have featured in Yahoos Ball Don’t Lie basketball blog’s Blog Association, where Kelly Dwyer has been profiling the best team-centric NBA blogs out there. If you have any inclination of increasing your knowledge about the NBA, these are the blogs you need to read and subscribe to. (I know I will be!)
Today, we are honored to interview Ryan from Hornets247, one of the top-notch Hornets blog out there. Ryan was was gracious enough to give up some of his time to answer some questions regarding the Lakers and the Hornets.
Jonny: Out on a limb, although backing it up with solid reasoning would be cool too, what do you think the ball park for the Hornet’s 08-09 regular season record will be, and do you think it will be enough to make the playoffs in the East?
Ryan: I’m picking the Hornets to win 59 games and be 2nd in the West. They hit 56 wins last season, and I believe they have upgraded over the summer by bringing in Posey and Devin Brown, letting Pargo walk, and having Paul and Julian Wright get one more year of experience under their belt. I don’t actually think the Hornets will have the crazy run of health they had last year(losing only 22 games from their starters) but I think they have gotten better and they’ve gotten deeper and will be more equipped to handle injuries.
Jonny: Again, out on the said limb, what do you think the ball park for the Laker’s 08-09 regular season record will be, and how do you feel they will place in the Pacific/West?
Ryan: I’ve got the Lakers winning 62 games and being the top team in the West. There isn’t any reason to think they’ll be worse by adding Bynum back to the lineup full time – but I don’t think you’ll see an insane explosion in efficiency and wins by the team. Bynum will be soaking up minutes from the already effective Odom, Gasol and departed Turiaf(who was fairly effective in his limited minutes).
Jonny: How do you feel the Hornets match up with the Lakers over a 7-game series?
Ryan: Right now, I think the Lakers would win in seven if everyone was healthy. Bynum and Kobe would get theirs, Peja and Paul would get theirs, Gasol and West would duel to a draw, and unless the Hornet’s bench improves over the season, I think the difference is there in the Lakers favor.
Jonny: Lakers fans are split down the middle on Odom; some love his versatility, others hate his inconsistency. As an opposing fan, how do you rate Odom?
Ryan: I think Lakers fans should stop expecting a scoring machine out of Odom and accept what he is: A third option on a good team. Does anyone seriously think that 14 points and 10 rebounds a game on 50% shooting coupled with solid defense is bad as a third option? I’d also like to point out that there is no player in the league who gives David West more trouble than when Odom is guarding him.
Jonny: What do you think of Kobe’s decisions to put-off surgery on his injured pinky?
Ryan: Irrelevant. Seriously. Boo-hoo about his lame pinky. Players play with injuries.
Jonny: What is your perception on Bynum? Lakers fans have him pegged as the next *insert hall-of-fame center*, yet the rest of the league doesn’t seem to hold him in such a high regard.
Ryan: Bynum averaged 13.1 points and 10.2 Rebounds over 35 games. There isn’t a team in the game who wouldn’t love to have a 20-year old player capable of that, especially in the limited minutes he was playing when he produced it. Still, there’s also no reason to declare someone a superstar before they’ve proven they are one. In Tyson Chandler’s first year with the Hornets, he averaged 15.2 points and 14.8 rebounds over 30 games in the middle of the season. It happens – but I’ve got to see it happen for longer.
Jonny: Kobe won the MVP last year, with Chris Paul coming in 2nd. Do you feel CP3 was robbed? Do you think Chris Paul will win the MVP this year?
Ryan: I have a hard time feeling CP3 was robbed. Was he deserving of an honor like that? Sure, I felt the arguments for Paul were pretty compelling. I never thought he’d win it though – he had 2 games on National TV all regular season. It’s kinda hard for someone to get votes from people who follow specific teams when they never get a chance to see you except the two or three times you come to visit.
However – do I think Kobe should have won it? No. I feel he got rewarded for his teammates getting better and he being the same player as always. There were players that were more vital to the success of their team than Kobe Bryant.
Thanks again to Ryan for his time and Insights.. Please DO NOT troll Hornets247, even if you think his ideas are totally off base (which you shouldn’t). Remember, on the Internet, you and I represent Lakers fans everywhere. Lets try to give ourselves a good name.