Stray Bullets: Lakers Look Ready For Playoffs

Apr 18, 2012; Oakland, CA, USA; Golden State Warriors small forward Dorell Wright (1) dribbles past Los Angeles Lakers small forward Devin Ebanks (3) during the third quarter at Oracle Arena. Los Angeles defeated Golden State 99-87. Mandatory Credit: Jason O. Watson-US PRESSWIRE

The season is winding down and the Lakers seem primed to make a serious run at the Finals. For the first time in a few years, they won't be the favorites to represent the Western Conference, but realistically, is there a favorite? I'm guessing OKC would be the team most people would pick (besides their favorite), but the Thunder still have something to prove.

  • Who would have thought that between Andrew and Dwight Howard, it would be Dwight who wound up being the jerk. Now he refuses to play under Stan Van Gundy. Pshhhht, I dunno man. It's seeming more and more like the Lakers dodged a bullet by not biting on D12. Everything he's done this season has just seemed so manipulated and contrived. What's worse is that none of it even seems to work. The Magic are good. SVG is a good coach. The Magic "should" have as good a shot as any team in the East. Still, we have to hear how Dwight thinks he has quitters on his team, or whatever made-up "excuse" he has for wanting to leave. I'd respect him more if he just came out and said it. "I want to leave and that's all there is to it."
  • Does anyone really believe Dwight is hurt? Or is his injury dependent on Stan Van Gundy's employment? Of course it's a back injury. How easy are those to fake?
  • I'm actually a lil bit ashamed that I was one of those pushing for a trade for Dwight. I thought it was the obvious move to make (if it was there to make), but allow me to admit that maybe I made a mistake. As time goes by, I'm beginning to evaluate if Dwight is actually the best center in the NBA. We're seeing what Bynum is capable of, and unlike Dwight, Bynum isn't the man on his team. It's rumored that Dwight didn't want tot come to LA because he didn't want to play second fiddle to Kobe. Well, what could Andrew do if he was the man on his own team. I'd like to think Drew's 18 and 12 would be more than Dwight's 20 and 14. We all give credit to Dwight for being the most disruptive defensive force in the NBA, but we've seen Bynum be able to match that defensive impact. Whether or not he does so as consistently is the main issue. On offense, it's not even close, Andrew Bynum is the next great traditional American center. He has all the moves, and the patience to use them.
  • Where's the next great American heavyweight boxer? Do they exist anymore?
  • Andrew is such a great athlete when he's healthy. How many alley-oops has he converted awkwardly or under the basket? Due to his injury history and hesitance when he came back after them, we tend to think of him as just this typical, plodding big guy. He's far from that. He's much closer to Dwight in athleticism than he is someone like Big Z.
  • Does Steve Blake know how to pass it into the post? He's a professional point guard who can't pass and is afraid to shoot. Not only does it seem like it's his personal mission to re-injure Andrew with a terrible pass, but he typically only shoots the ball when he has no other option because he can't pass it to the one of the biggest guys in the NBA. We're stuck with him for two more years.
  • I heart Matt Barnes.
  • I don't think Ron will suffer much when Kobe returns. Of course, he'll get less opportunities, but I don't feel his style or approach has changed because of Kobe's absence. He's just been better. What were once wild drives to the baskets and clangs off the rim are now strong drives to the baskets and swishes.
  • The best thing about the return of Ron Artest is the hands. Dude has faster hands than E Honda and will strip the best of 'em.
  • I really, really, really, really hope LeBron doesn't win the MVP. Not because I'm some ring-counting hater (there's nothing wrong with that by the way), but because I'm tired of everyone pointing to his shiny stats and thinking that's the reason he's the MVP. In my opinion it de-values what "MVP" should be about. How many times are they going to give the MVP to a stat king who doesn't back up those stats when he supposed to? Especially with the "superteam" he's on. At the end of it all, they're just stats. Numbers. Until he validates them
  • My vote would go to Kevin Durant.
  • But Russell Westbrook scares me more.
  • Is Daniel Orton Russell Westbrook's long lost big twin or something?
  • I was reviewing our (SSR) season predictions, and it seems Ben R. and Actuarially Sound made the best ones:
  • Ben R.:
    Predicted Record/Finish:
    42-24 (3rd in West)
    Predicted Post Season Finish:
    Conference Finals Loss
    Will the team make a major move during the season?
    Yes

    Actuarially Sound:
    Predicted Record/Finish:
    43-23 (4th in West)
    Predicted Post Season Finish:
    NBA Finals Loss
    Will the team make a major move during the season?
    Yes

    Me? I predicted this:
    Predicted Record/Finish: 46-20 (3rd in West)
    Predicted Post Season Finish: NBA Finals
    Will the team make a major move during the season? Yes
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