Even Before Artest, Reigning Champion Lakers Were Without Equal

Harrison MooreAnalyst IIJuly 4, 2009

Breaking News: The Los Angeles Lakers were still the world’s best team before acquiring Ron Artest.

Its pretty sad that the world seemed to have forgotten that fact given that the Lakers won the NBA title less than a month ago. Yet somehow the world did forget and ESPN’s Sportsnation reported that the Cavaliers were the overwhelming favorites to win next year’s title less than 24 hours ago.

I find that nothing short of disgraceful and the Cavaliers should literally be charged with fraudulence.

Despite the fact that LeBron James somehow won 66 games in last year’s regular season with a less-than-stellar supporting cast, the Cavaliers were the favorite to win the title at the start of last year’s postseason as well. It was ancient news that the Cavaliers had lost their two regular season games to the Lakers by an average of 13.5 points.  

When the Cavaliers opened up what was supposed to be a “title run” with an 8-0 record the world was even more convinced that they were the league’s “best team.”

Nevermind that the deflated, sub .500 Pistons and the injured Hawks were easily some of the softest playoff teams of the last decade.

But then, finally, when the Cavaliers faced off against Orlando, the playoff series showcased what I had been saying all season along: the Cavaliers are a one-man act.

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Yet somehow when they acquired an ancient fossil of a once-dominant NBA center, the world forgot about the reigning Champions. Sure a LeBron and Shaq tandem sounds cute…. in a creepy anti-Kobe jealousy scheme kinda way. But it doesn’t at all address the lack of athleticism of the Cavaliers frontcourt and does less than nothing to help out with the inconsistencies of their very overrated guards.

But one thing we should have learned is that Cleveland thrives on being overrated. When they’re actually assessed in an accurate manner, all hell breaks loose. It wasn’t all that long ago that veteran sharpshooter Ray Allen was given the all-star nod over Mo Williams, prompting the entire city  of Cleveland to crap their collective diapers.

LeBron James even led the ridiculous charge, calling it “a slap in the face.” (Sidenote: I wonder how many people in Cleveland thought Mo Williams was an all-star during the Orlando series).

Cleveland is simply overrated, unproductive and extremely talkative, so in that regard yes, I suppose that Shaq does fit into their system. Perfectly.

Unfortunately, Shaq’s exactly what the doctor didn’t order in every other regard.

While his rhyming skills were never much better than the guys that composed the rap for the end theme of Captain Planet, they at least refrained from making on-court promises that he’d be unable to keep.

But “Ring for the King???” Wow.

While the reigning Champions add offensive potency and defensive intensity to their roster picking Ron Artest, the Cavaliers added a big rhyming fossil. As lopsided as the difference between these two acquisitions are, they really show the gap and overall difference between the two teams.

The Lakers don’t talk nearly as much as the Cavaliers do, they aren’t nearly as goofy as the Cavaliers are (see Cleveland’s post and pregame warm-ups) and they are much more equipped to win in the here and now.

So just stop it.

Stop the silly predictions. Stop limiting the Lakers to “the best in the West.” Stop pretending as though the Cavaliers are going to dethrone them.

The Lakers were the best team in basketball 24 hours ago. They’ll be the best 24 hours from now, and they’ll still be the best 365 days from now after they’ve won 70 games and their second straight NBA Championship.

The acquisition of Ron Artest merely cemented all of that.