Nash is so effective because he makes everyone around him better, while also being an above-average three-point shooter.
With that in mind, how do the Lakers match up with OKC?
On paper, both teams are pretty close.
If I scored each component of each team as a boxing fight, these would be the results:
Westbrook over Nash: 10-9
Bryant over Harden: 10-8
Durant over World Peace: 10-7
Gasol over Ibaka: 10-9
Bynum over Perkins: 10-8
OKC Bench over L.A. bench: 10-8
Scott Brooks over Mike Brown: 10-9
The tallied score has the Thunder over the Lakers by two points. The question begs to be asked: Can the Lakers close the gap?
The answer to that question is yes. The bench needs to be improved, not in terms of marquee players, but ones who mesh well together.
Take Nick Collison of the Thunder, for example. He does not put up big-time statistics, but does all of the little things.
Gasol needs to step up in the playoffs and out-play Ibaka. The Spanish big man definitely has the talent to do so, but his career statistics in the playoffs are mediocre compared to his exploits during the season.
Finally, Coach Brown needs to out-coach Brooks. Quite honestly, Brooks is one of the more overrated coaches in the league, as he repeatedly mismanages Westbrook and Durant.
If Brown can set the tone on the defensive end of the floor, L.A. might be able to take advantage of Westbrook's indecisiveness.
If Kobe and Bynum put up big-time numbers all series, the Lakers will have a shot to beat their nemesis.
The same can be said about Westbrook and Durant. If these two young superstars are able to score at will against L.A., look for a potential series to end quickly.
While the odds are against them, the Lakers are one of the few teams that has the ability to beat the Thunder. The next question is whether they can put everything together and win Kobe Bryant his sixth NBA title.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!