Sorry, David Stern: No Kobe or LeBron in the NBA Finals

Ari HoringSenior Analyst IMay 27, 2009

LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 19:  Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers shoots a jumper against LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers during the game at Staples Center on January 19, 2009 in Los Angeles, California.  The Lakers defeated the Cavaliers 105-88.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

From the very beginning of the year, I have said two things:

The Lakers won't win a championship because Kobe isn't Michael Jordan, and won't be able to carry the Lakers unless Andrew Bynum becomes a key part of their offense.

The Cavaliers won't win a championship because they don't have that second star to compliment LeBron.

Even as the Cavaliers and Lakers both dominated opponent after opponent on their way to the two best records in the NBA, I still wasn't satisfied.

As I have said many times, being great in the regular season doesn't necessarily mean you're going to be great in the playoffs. Certain teams are built for the playoffs, and I didn't believe the Lakers and Cavaliers were.

However, before the playoffs, I started wondering whether my predictions weren't going to come true. The Lakers and the Cavaliers were almost everybody's favorites to clash in the finals, and I wondered if I was just afraid to take my predictions back.

Throughout the season, most Cavaliers fans have accused me of not actually watching the games, being biased, or not realizing how good Moe Williams was.

I would tell them that I actually liked the Cavaliers, but respected the history of basketball and believed that Moe Williams was not a true superstar. Besides Hakeem in 94, history has shown it is impossible for one man to carry a team on his back to a championship.

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LeBron needs that second guy that he just doesn't have. So far Moe Williams has shown that he is no Scottie Pippen, as he has shot poorly all series long.

Most Lakers fans have failed to see the lack of mental toughness the Lakers have. Besides Kobe's horrid shooting (.405 FGP) in the finals last year, the main problem for the Lakers was that they couldn't handle the Celtics physical play.

When Andrew Bynum got hurt, I immediately pronounced that the Lakers weren't going to win a championship. Bynum brings that big physical presence that the Lakers need in order to win a title.

However, once he came back before the playoffs, I was no longer sure the Lakers weren't going to win it all.

Obviously, I knew it was going to take Bynum a while to get back to where he was before he got injured. However, even so, I expected him to be a key contributor, especially deeper in the playoffs. 

However, the Lakers haven't let Bynum play enough. And When is playing, he is not getting the ball enough. For a young player like Bynum, it is very important for the Lakers to let him get in rhythm.

However, when he has started off poorly, the Lakers foolishly tend to ignore him the rest of the game. If the Lakers do lose to the Nuggets, it's because they never tried to get Bynyum going.

As it stands, the Cavaliers are down 1-3 to the Magic, with the series likely over. The Magic just have too many weapons and the Cavaliers frankly don't have enough.

Although the Lakers are tied with the Nuggets 2-2, the series could very well be over already.

The Nuggets, after leading in both 4th quarters of game one and three, basically gave both games away.

This series isn't like the Rockets-Lakers series, because there is no underdog. No team is at a disadvantage at any position, like the Rockets were down low.

The winner of this series will just come down to who is playing better. Right now, I don't see how you can't say that the Nuggets are playing better than the Lakers.

Right now, my predictions from the beginning of the season look accurate.

Sorry David Stern, but no Kobe or LeBron in this year's finals.