Friday, October 5, 2012

NBA Power Rankings: The Three Title Contenders

KD and LBJ start right where they left off
Media day has passed, training camp has begun, and the preseason is about to get underway.  With a mere three weeks to go until the regular season, it's time to arbitrarily rank the teams.  The rankings are decided by a combination of outlook, current affairs, and other completely subjective categories.  This first post focuses on the three teams that I think have a real possibility of winning the title.

1. Miami Heat

The best player on the planet, the all time three pointers made leader, the best shooting guard in the league, and a big man who saved them from a playoff collapse.  Who knows what crazy lineups coach Erik Spoelstra will throw out there, but no matter who is on the floor, everything will revolve around LeBron James.  James will be guarding power forwards on one end and running the whole offense on the other.  He has hinted at living in the paint like he did during the Finals, and if that doesn't scare NBA teams I don't know what does.

2. Oklahoma City Thunder
The Thunder did not make any big moves to keep pace with the Lakers, instead opting to let their players natural improvement better the team.  Why are the Thunder ahead of the Lakers you ask?  Guards.  Steve Nash is a shadow on defense and at this point Kobe Bryant is just going on reputation.  There is no doubt that Dwight Howard is the best defensive player in the league, but there is just no way he will be able to stop James Harden and Russel Westbrook every single time they easily slice into the lane.  Also, Kendrick Perkins has always been Superman's kryptonite and OKC still has a far superior bench than Los Angeles.  Either way, I'm looking forward to some fun spring battles.    

3. Los Angeles Lakers
On second thought, I do know what else would scare NBA teams.  This.  I am incredibly excited to see what this team does with its various weapons.   On paper there is no doubt in my mind that this is the best team in the NBA.  On paper.  I remember that being said about a certain team in 2004.  The parallels are stunning.  The injured big man (Karl Malone/Dwight Howard), and veteran point guard (Gary Payton/Steve Nash).  Now I doubt that this team will have some of the work ethic, and ego issues that that team had, but there are still some wrinkles that need to be creased.  Kobe has never had to deal with a ball dominant backcourt mate like Nash before and vice-versa.  To put it kindly, Pau Gasol has not been playing the most inspiring basketball lately and anything can happen with Ron A  Metta World Peace on the floor.  The biggest question of course is Dwight Howard.  If Howard can play at the level he has before for the Magic, and just do not see how this team can be stopped.  Lets go through the options: Nash/Howard pick and roll (quivering on the floor), Nash/Gasol pick and pop, Gasol or Howard post up, Kobe ISO, MWP corner three.  Did I tell you that I can't wait to see this team?

Saturday: The next tier

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