San Antonio Spurs: 5 Reasons They Won't Supplant the Los Angeles Lakers Out West

Adam Spencer@AdamSpencer4Correspondent IDecember 1, 2010

San Antonio Spurs: 5 Reasons They Won't Supplant the Los Angeles Lakers Out West

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    The San Antonio Spurs have gotten out to a very surprising 14-2 start this year.

    We all expected Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker and company to be good this year, but not this good.

    San Antonio is playing like it's 2007 again. They look young and spry and are beating some of the best teams in the NBA.

    But, they haven't played the Los Angeles Lakers yet, and the road to the NBA Finals still goes through them.

    Here are five reasons the Spurs won't challenge the Lakers for the Western Conference title this season.

5. Lack of Depth

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    The Spurs have a little bit of depth, but their second unit of Matt Bonner, George Hill, Antonio McDyess, Tiago Splitter and Gary Neal aren't going to keep the Spurs in ballgames for very long.

    Compare that to the Lakers second unit that features Andrew Bynum (when he's healthy), Derrick Caracter, Matt Barnes, Shannon Brown and Steve Blake.

    The Lakers have more explosiveness on their second unit.

4. Matchup Problems

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    The Spurs have no seven-footers. The Lakers have two.

    Plus, L.A. has Lamar Odom and Ron Artest who can play small forward and they are both bigger than Richard Jefferson.

    If the Lakers sent out a lineup of Fisher, Kobe, Odom, Bynum and Gasol, the Spurs couldn't send out a lineup that could match that size.

3. Kobe Bryant

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    Tim Duncan is one of the (if not the) best power forwards in the NBA.

    But Kobe Bryant has one more championship than Duncan as is capable of taking over a game like no one since Michael Jordan.

    If a game was tied late in the fourth quarter, I'd rather have Kobe on my team than Duncan.

2. Health

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    Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker and Tim Duncan all have histories of injuries.

    Ginobili is the most injury prone, but Parker also missed some extended periods of time last year.

    If the Spurs can't avoid injuries to their big three, they'll be in trouble later on this season.

1. Age

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    Manu Ginobili is 33. Tim Duncan is 34. Richard Jefferson is 30. Antonio McDyess is 36.

    How will these older guys hold up for an 82 game season?

    The Lakers have Derek Fisher, who is 36, but he isn't counted on in L.A. as much as the Spurs count on the four players listed above.

    If the Spurs can't keep up their strong play for an 82 game regular season, they'll likely falter early on in the playoffs.

How Will the West Shape Up?

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    Here's how I see the Western Conference playoff picture shaping up:

    1. Los Angeles Lakers

    2. Dallas Mavericks

    3. Oklahoma City Thunder

    4. San Antonio Spurs

    5. Utah Jazz

    6. Denver Nuggets

    7. New Orleans Hornets

    8. Portland Trail Blazers