Last year, the Boston Celtics won their first NBA championship in 22 years. They accomplished this task by playing great defense, taking advantage of their collective experience, and capitalizing on the leadership capabilities of their guys.
This year's No. 1 Eastern Conference seed, the Cleveland Cavaliers, has only one of those things (defense), and that will prevent LeBron & Co. from taking their place in history alongside the '08 C's.
I'll break down how they come up short in the other two areas for you.
Consider this one word: "experience."
Now, consider these two more words: "LeBron James."
LBJ is the only guy on the Cavs who has significant Playoff exposure.
Sure, Maurice Williams is a great point guard, but he was on the Bucks for four years, and they made the postseason just once in his tenure, when Mo was just a rookie.
Yes, Cleveland has other players with years under their belt like Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Ben Wallace, Wally Szczerbiak, and Joe Smith, but this squad has only three players with more than 10 years experience in the NBA.
In contrast, the Celtics have five: Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, Stephon Marbury, and Mikki Moore.
The Cavs do have the same starting five as they did last year, but other than that continuity, they're pretty much a brand new team except for bench player Daniel Gibson.
Now that being said, leadership was even more important to the Celtics' title run last season. They had the definition of a "Celtic" in Paul Pierce.
Every year, the Red Auerbach Award is given out to the player on the Celtics who best exemplifies what it means to be a member of the Boston club. "P-Dub" won it six years running, from 2003 to 2008, though this year Ray Allen took it home.
But that just shows that other players are stepping up and being leaders. Two-seed or not, the Celtics have a legitimate chance at winning the 'ship again because of this.
Meanwhile, the Cavaliers have LeBron and "Big Z" to lead, but that's it.
They only have three players who score 10-plus points per game: "The King," Mo, and Ilgauskas, though Delonte West is creeping close with 9.6 PPG.
The Cavs are a great team, no doubt about it, but they are beatable. All opponents have to do is shutdown LeBron, and they are more than halfway to a victory.
It should be a very interesting Playoffs.