Part 1: The Backcourt (Monday)
Part 2: The Frontcourt (Tuesday)
Part 3: The Bench (Wednesday)
Part 4: The Coaches (Wednesday)
Part 5: The Prediction (Thursday)
The NBA Finals tipoff is in three days, and LayupDrill.com will have you covered with a breakdown of each critical area in the upcoming Lakers vs. Magic series. We start tonight with a preview of the backcourt battle. Read the rest after the jump.
The Lakers obviously know what they are going to get from Kobe, and his 41 minutes/game average in the playoffs could increase in the Finals.
Their achilles heel has been the play at the point guard spot. Derek Fisher has had one of worst playoffs of his career, and, win or lose this series, his starting job is likely going to someone else next season. The Jordan Farmar and Shannon Brown tandem has been respectable in their minutes played , however, the Magic’s point guards will give them problems.
If Derek Fisher continues to struggle in the playoffs, it will be interesting to see who Phil Jackson turns to in order to slow down Orlando. In the Lakers' first meeting with Orlando this season on December 20th, Derek Fisher scored 27 Points in 41 minutes of play, which matched the scoring output of Jameer Nelson that game. Nearly a month later, on January 16th, Fisher did not fare as well. His nine points in 41 minutes of play was completely dominated by Nelson’s 28 points and eight assists.
The Lakers will see a different style of play that Rafer Alston brings to the table, but their high-powered offense has not missed a beat.
Moving on to the shooting guard position, Kobe Bryant will have an advantage over any player opposite of him in the league, however, Mickael Pietrus should make him work more than Dahntay Jones did this last series. Pietrus gave LeBron James fits at times in the Eastern Finals, but, just like Kobe, no one could stop the King. Courtney Lee will need to step up and give the Magic some added offense in order for them to attempt to balance out this position.
Starting Point Guard Advantage: Orlando (Alston over Fisher) 65 percent/ 35 percent
Starting Shooting Guard Advantage: Los Angeles (Bryant over Lee) 80 percent/20 percent
Backcourt Bench Advantage: Even
Overall Advantage: Lakers 65 percent/Magic 35 percent