Likelihood of winning the West: 38 percent
Don’t discount the Lakers' chances.
Right now, they’re probably the most underrated team in the league: Did you know they’re 20-13?
Based on all the perceived drama coming out of Los Angeles, probably not.
Here’s what’s interesting about the Lakers: Kobe Bryant and head coach Mike Brown.
I believe playoff time is where new head coach Mike Brown could really show his worth.
And in case you haven’t watched the NBA for the past 10 years, I believe playoff time is where Kobe could really show his worth as well.
When it comes to defense, next to Greg Popovich and (arguably) Tom Thibodeau, I believe Brown is the best in the league.
This is of relevance because the playoffs are more of a half-court, slow-paced game than the regular season.
They’re actually a different game altogether. That’s a benefit for Brown, Kobe and the Lakers. As the mantra goes, defense (or triangle offense) wins championships.
Even if this team doesn’t make a significant move at the deadline, I still like their chances.
Yes, Kobe is taking a million shots a game right now, but don’t overlook the value that two seven-footers (Gasol and Bynum) can have in the playoffs on a Mike Brown-coached team.
With the exception of his last two years in Cleveland, Brown and the Cavs overachieved in the playoffs every year; they were one defensive rebound away from taking away the Celtics' championship in 2008.
Sure, a lot of that had to do with LeBron James being the best player on this earth, but don’t we remember LeBron’s supporting cast in Cleveland?
Horrible depth or not, it paled in comparison to the supporting cast of this Lakers team.
Defensively, they are sixth-best in the league. That’s not bad considering they’ve had to learn Brown’s system on the fly because of the lockout.
Lakers vs. Heat Buzz: 9.5
I know that everyone outside of L.A. pretty much hates the Lakers and would be disgusted if they had to watch a Heat vs. Lakers Finals, but come on—Kobe vs. LeBron.
Mike Brown vs. LeBron. Mike Brown vs. the ghosts of Phil Jackson and Pat Riley. Kobe vs. MJ’s championship count. Millions of Cleveland Cavaliers fans passionately engaging in “Kobe is way better than LeBron will ever be” debates, when—not too long ago—that question wasn’t even up for debate because the answer was LeBron.
What’s not to love about a Heat-Lakers Finals?
Lakers' chances against Miami: 65 percent
At the end of the day you’ve got to trust Kobe more than LeBron.