For the past few years, it was fun watching the D-Will vs. CP3 comparisons and watching the Jazz slug it out with Melo and the Nuggets in the playoffs. But watching the Jazz beat those teams doesn't bring nearly as much emotion and satisfaction to Jazz fans as watching the team stick it to Kobe Bryant and the Lakers.
Now the Lakers are dealing with some issues right now with a new coach, new roster and off-the-court problems with their superstar. But they will be strong, just like they have been for the past decade.
This year Utah has a plethora of fresh young talent to go along with a few seasoned veterans, all of whom I'm sure have circled the December 27th showdown on the calendar.
Not only will it be the first game of the season, but a chance to beat the team Jazz fans despise the most. These are 5 reasons why the Jazz will win:
For some inconceivable reason, the Lakers decided to dump the NBA's reigning Sixth Man for some salary cap space this offseason.
Good thing for Jazz fans because Lamar Odom has been a Jazz killer for the past few seasons. His length, ability to shoot the three and much-improved offensive rebounding had crippled the Jazz front line in years past.
The Lakers have been so good lately because of their LENGTH, and without it, they're just any other team with a good shooting guard. The Lakers still have Pau Gasol and the oft-injured Andrew Bynum, both of which, have tremendous length, but make no mistake about it, losing Lamar Odom hurts this team.
In spite of the fact that Andrew Bynum is getting his suspension for body-slamming ex-Mavs guard J.J. Barea in last year's playoffs reduced, Bynum will still miss the Jazz season opener in L.A.
We've already mentioned that the secret ingredient to L.A.'s dominance the past few years has been outstanding length. Now with Lamar Odom gone and Andrew Bynum suspended, the cupboard up front for the Lakers suddenly became dry.
Their projected starting lineup will consist of:
PG- Derek Fisher
SG- Kobe Bryant
SF- David Ebanks
PF- Josh McRoberts
C- Pau Gasol
McRoberts makes can make the highlight reel for his athletic dunks, but other than that, is not much of a threat. Metta World Peace will be coming off the bench for David Ebanks (whoever he is), but either way, the length factor is gone.
Al Jefferson, Paul Millsap, Derek Favors and Enes Kanter should have a field day against that soft front line.
We all know Kobe is one prideful, heartless, resilient son-of-a-gun.
That's part of what makes him such a good athlete. But I don't care how you try to swing it; this divorce has got to be affecting Kobe a bit. They were married for over a decade!
Something else that has to be bothering Kobe—the hiring of Mike Brown. Not only is it difficult to adjust to a new coach after you've been guided by only one man your entire career, but Kobe, the face of the franchise, who has brought the team five titles was not even consulted when Lakers' management decided to make the hire.
The Lakers are going to be tired.
They start the season on Christmas Day at home versus the very tough Chicago Bulls. They then travel up North to battle against an up-and-coming Sacramento Kings team. As soon as that final whistle blows, they're headed back home to take on Utah who will not have yet played one game.
Not only will the suspension and loss of Bynum and Odom hurt the depleted front court, but the Lakers are an elderly team. They have nine players age 30 or over:
World Peace- 32
Steve Blake- 31
Jason Kapono- 30
Troy Murphy- 31
Luke Walton- 31
Those 30-plus-year-old legs are going to be pretty worn out and struggle to keep up with Utah's youngsters on the back end of three games in three nights.
In spite of losing Deron Williams, Utah has stocked up on an abundance of fresh young talent to complement their veteran leaders such as Al Jefferson, Paul Millsap and Devin Harris.
You could see a glimpse of the future in in a game late last year when Gordon Hayward outplayed Kobe, and the Jazz beat the Lakers in Los Angeles.
Al Jefferson has shown himself to be much more effective against the Lakers' length than Carlos Boozer or Mehmet Okur ever were.
As long as the Jazz somewhat contain Kobe in this game, they should have no trouble getting their first win of the season in Los Angeles.
Final Score Prediction: Jazz - 97, Lakers - 88.