Miami Heat vs. LA Lakers: Who Would Win a Seven Game Series?
With the recent trio of the three best free agents all deciding to "take their talents to South Beach," many people have claimed that they are instantly the team to beat in the East, and will probably win the 2011 NBA Championship.
Am I the only one who remembers that team playing at Staples Center?
Until the Lakers are dethroned, they are still king. Until someone stops Kobe with his most recent arsenal of players (which has yet to happen when the current roster had a full year together), I'm not going to immediately anoint the new "Big Three" as NBA Champs.
With that being said, there is a strong possibility that the Heat and Lakers would meet in the NBA Finals next year, so let's take a look at the player matchups were that to happen.
Point Guard: Derek Fisher vs. Mario Chalmers (Or Steve Blake?)
With the news breaking that Derek Fisher is meeting with the Miami Heat today, this matchup is subject to change.
As of now, we can only assume that Fish will be a Laker until a deal is struck, and if that were the case the Lakers would definitely have the advantage here, based on sheer playoff experience and veteran presence.
Fish saved the Lakers in Game Three, taking over the game late in the fourth quarter, propelling the Lakers to a huge road victory.
All that being said, the signing of Steve Blake could mean that Fisher is all but set to join one of the most star studded trios since Jordan, Rodman, and Pippen led the Bulls to 72 wins (Derek Fisher=Steve Kerr?).
Taking a look into my crystal ball, I would have to again give the edge to Derek Fisher if he were to join the Heat. Steve Blake is a great player, but he doesn't have much playoff experience.
For now, let's call this one a push.
Shooting Guard: Kobe Bryant vs. Dwyane Wade
And here we go. The matchup all of you probably skipped to see. The Black Mamba vs. Flash. Kobe vs. D-Wade.
As of this moment, Kobe Bryant has to be fuming with all of the attention being taken away from his most recent championship run and fed into Pat Riley's creation.
The funny this is that I, along with other NBA experts, still feel the Lakers are poised to win another championship, trio be damned.
This matchup is an intriguing one, considering that Bryant is 31 and will be 32 at playoff time, and Wade will be 29. This doesn't seem like much, but Kobe will be entering his 16th NBA season, and Wade in just his eighth.
This is a huge difference, and considering that Kobe had injuries all throughout last season, it wouldn't be wrong to assume he might have trouble running with Wade for seven games.
Let's not forget how he struggled to keep up with Ray Allen in the finals.
Taking that into account, I will give the edge to Wade and the Heat.
Small Forward: Ron Artest vs. LeBron James
I think this is the make or break matchup that would determine the winner of this series.
In the past, Ron Artest has played well against LeBron James, save for last season when the Cavs beat the Lakers twice and The King put up 37 and 26 in those games.
But in the one season he played with the Rockets, as a fan, I remember Artest getting into LeBron's head and LeBron working hard for every basket.
In a seven game series, Artest would wear down James, the same way he did Paul Pierce this year. It would be even more difficult for James to score with Artest having full confidence in himself having just won his first NBA championship.
LeBron would still get his 20 points, but rest assured he would have to work his butt off for it.
In the regular season, the Heat might get by, but in a playoff series I like Artest's toughness and strength to force LeBron out of his comfort zone.
Let's call this one a push though, unless Artest can find someway to produce offensively.
Power Forward: Pau Gasol vs. Chris Bosh
Ever since getting embarrassed by the Celtics' front line in 2008, Pau Gasol has become a much better player by improving his strength and being a tougher defender.
As much as I like Chris Bosh as a player, Gasol's length would bother him and Bosh would have trouble slowing down the Spaniard on offense.
Last year in their two games against the Raptors, they each outperformed the other in one game, but in the playoffs, I like Gasol to outlast Bosh.
Center: Andrew Bynum vs. Any Free Agent Available
This is the toughest matchup to evaluate since we don't know who will be playing center for either team, be it because of Bynum and his injury issues or the simple fact that the Heat don't have anyone yet.
Either way, I like Bynum against anyone the Heat could lure into play center, even if they re-sign Udonis Haslem.
The Bench: Lakers win...DUH!
Possibly the Lakers' greatest advantage over the Heat is a vastly superior bench.
Lamar Odom, Jordan Farmar, Shannon Brown, Josh Powell, Luke Walton, and Sasha Vujacic give the Lakers a huge advantage in a playoff series with the Heat.
As of this moment, the Heat have only Mike Miller and a bunch of rookies to go along with the trio of stardom.
Who Pat Riley signs after Wade, Bosh, and LeBron will be even more important than those three. You can't win an NBA championship without capable role players.
The Decision (I couldn't help myself)
Should these two franchises meet in the Finals, the ratings would go through the roof and it would be a great series.
As of this moment, I am picking Kobe to win his sixth title to make him the winningest Laker of all time, and Phil Jackson to get his fourth "three-peat" and ride off into the sunset as the greatest coach of all time.