LA Lakers-Boston Celtics: Who Would Win?

Brandon Ribak@reebokforthreeSenior Writer IJuly 8, 2009

At this very minute, the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics are the two strongest overall teams in the NBA. Agreed?

Before I begin to answer the question asked in the headline, I want to dig in about which team actually ranks above the other.

As of right now, the Lakers starting lineup consists of Derek Fisher (PG), Kobe Bryant (SG), Ron Artest, Paul Gasol (PF), and Andrew Bynum (C).

The team's bench is truly depleted, consisting of Shannon Brown, Luke Walton, Jordan Farmar, Sasha Vujacic, Sun Yue, and Adam Marrison.

On the other hand, the Celtics' starting five looks something like this: Rajon Rondo (PG), Ray Allen (SG), Paul Pierce (SF), Kevin Garnett (PF), Kendrick Perkins (C).

Their bench has Rasheed Wallace, Eddie House, Tony Allen, J.R. Giddens, Bill Walker, and Brian Scalabrine.

When comparing the starting fives of each team, it can arguably be in favor of either squad.

The Lakers have an old and declining starting point guard in Derek Fisher, who could possibly be replaced by Jordan Farmar or Shannon Brown throughout the season.

They have the MVP of the NBA Finals in Kobe Bryant, whom we all know is still Kobe Bryant. Ron Artest was an enormous addition to LA, giving them extreme help on the defensive end and an outstanding offensive presence, as well.

They have a seven-foot power forward in Pau Gasol, who continues to get better each and every season, and they have a young, up-and-coming center in Andrew Bynum, who can emerge as one of the best players at his position if he remains healthy.

The Celtics have a top five NBA point guard in Rajon Rondo, who has proven to produce night in and night out during playoff time. They have a future Hall-of-Famer in Ray Allen, who has two or three more solid seasons in him.

Paul Pierce is still "The Truth" and will put up his normal averages during the upcoming season, while Kevin Garnett is hungrier than ever to get a second taste at another championship ring.

Kendrick Perkins has seen a major improvement in his overall game, becoming one of the best defenders at his position, and the Celtics just signed PF/C Rasheed Wallace, who is extremely versatile, well experienced, and ready to win another championship.

If I had to say which was the better team at this moment, I would say the Lakers, only if they re-sign Lamar Odom.

If they let LO go, the Celtics' starting five, along with Wallace, rises to the cream of the NBA crop.

So now, if the NBA Finals were played today, assuming their were no injuries or setbacks for either team, would the Los Angeles Lakers or the Boston Celtics win?

I know this debate could get pretty heated, so please express your opinion!