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LA Lakers-Miami Heat: Adding a Little Truth To All the Speculation

Hadarii JonesSenior Writer IJuly 29, 2010

LOS ANGELES - FEBRUARY 28:  Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers shares a laugh with Dwyane Wade #3 of the Miami Heat during the game on February 28, 2008 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.  The Lakers won 106-88. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

As the war of words rages on between fans and media of the Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat, a little truth may be needed to counter the speculation that has run rampant since Miami landed their power trio.

Most Heat fans are irritated that Lakers' fans fail to acknowledge their status as true contenders for the NBA title, and in reality they have every right to feel this way.

It's hard to view a team including LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh as anything but contenders, and although nothing is guaranteed, it's a reasonable concept to place that trio among the league's elite.

Likewise, Lakers fans are irked because for some strange reason, some fans of the Miami Heat are of the opinion that NBA championships grow on trees, considering how easily the Lakers last two titles are devalued.

Some have gone as far to say that the Lakers' narrow victory over the Celtics in the 2010 NBA Finals was due to Kendrick Perkins' knee injury and a great amount of luck, and in both cases they are right.

Luck is one of the components of a championship team along with experience, chemistry, sweat, blood, and tears.

It's so hard to win a championship that some stars go their entire careers without tasting one.

Of course Miami fans have visions of multiple NBA championships, and their superstar trio gives them hope for the future. But it will take a lot more than just taking the court in order for the Heat to earn one.

A championship journey for the Heat will take a total team effort, and despite stories to the contrary, Miami's roster is a lot stronger than observers have given them credit for.

Popular theory said the Heat would be forced to surround James, Wade, and Bosh with a group of lower tier players due to financial constraints, but what Pat Riley has assembled is impressive.

None of the players Riley has signed particularly stand out, but he has added size, depth, and experience to complement the talents of his unprecedented trio.

But how does the Miami Heat's better-than-expected roster stand up to the Lakers?

Some Heat fans have said the Lakers do not match up well to their team, but for some reason the strength of the Lakers' roster is often over-looked when making this assessment.

The Lakers' center of power lies in Andrew Bynum, Pau Gasol, Lamar Odom, and Theo Ratliff, and the Heat's post players pale in comparison, despite a decent group who can hold their own.

Miami can match the Lakers' size with Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Jamaal Maglorie, Juwon Howard Udonis Haslem, and Bosh, but only Bosh can be considered on the same level as Bynum, Gasol, and Odom in terms of talent.

It is true that Wade and James can offset some of the Lakers' advantage in the post with their penetration, but this is not a given due to the defensive abilities of Kobe Bryant, Ron Artest, and Matt Barnes.

By no means am I suggesting that Wade and James can be stopped by either Bryant, Artest, or Barnes, but all three play good enough defense to at least slow Wade and James down on the perimeter.

Another point of contention in the endless debate has centered around the uncertainty of each team's performance once the regular season finally begins.

Lakers fans say there is no true way to glean if the Heat will meet their lofty expectations, while Heat fans criticize the Lakers for basing next season's predictions on last season's results.

This may be the most ridiculous argument of all, because in all honesty no one can be certain if the Heat's assumed chemistry will materialize, while the Lakers have the evidence of the past three seasons as proof.

Duke's coach K recently said Miami would suffer no chemistry problems based on their performance in the Olympics, but what he failed to mention was how important Bryant was to the success of that team.

As for how Miami's trio will perform once the season begins is anyone's guess, and under the circumstances, anyone's opinion is just as good as Coach K's.

The Lakers, however, have won the past two NBA championships, and participated in three consecutive NBA Finals, while returning all of their primary players.

There is a pretty good chance the Lakers could compete for their third title in a row, but that opinion is based on the facts of the last three seasons, rather than the potential of a team who has yet to play a single game.

The passion exuded by both Lakers fans and Heat fans is admirable, but to pretend the matter has been approached in an objective manner is laughable at best.

Objectivity is hard especially when it concerns a matter that is close to the heart, and I have been guilty of more than a little bias throughout the off-season.

Hopefully both the Lakers and Heat can reach their Finals' goal and maybe then some of the speculation about a potential showdown can finally become reality.

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