Worthy: Miami Heat still has the edge over the Lakers

Worthy: Miami Heat still has the edge over the Lakers

Postby JSM on Tue Sep 25, 2012 12:15 am

Mark Medina of the LA Times wrote:With Lakers training camp only eight days away, I talked with former Laker James Worthy for insight into this year's team. Worthy is also an analyst with Time Warner Cable SportsNet.

You mentioned the other day that the Lakers "look really good on paper." So does a counterfeit $100 bill until you try to spend it. Is there anything specific that leaves you tentative about this year's team?

There's nothing in particular that leaves me tentative. It's just from my experience, it's there anytime you bring in new aspects of the team. Steve Nash is the most important key to this team. He's the point guard and the coach of the floor. But anytime you bring in new parts, it's going to take some time for it to mix up. These guys have never played together and have never played under this new [Princeton offense] system. We're also not sure when Dwight Howard will be in the lineup. All of that makes it look good on paper. Anytime you have Dwight Howard on your team, it's going to look on paper. But it still has to gel. When he was in Orlando, they looked good on paper from time to time. ... We also can't forget the Clippers are improving, Oklahoma City is still great. You can't just give it to the Lakers. They have to go out and earn it. It looks good on paper, but [Coach] Mike Brown still has to make it work.

Do they have enough to beat Oklahoma City?

Oklahoma City is younger. But with Dwight in at the same time with Pau, with Steve Nash, that makes a big difference. Last year, Ramon Sessions was young. Before Howard, the Lakers were second or third in the West. But with getting a 38-year-old point guard that still has some left and bringing in a franchise player, that puts them right back at the top. I don't think too many people will bet against the Lakers against anybody in the West, assuming they're a healthy team. But they still have to make it happen.

What about the Miami Heat?

I would have to say Miami still has a little edge simply because they won last year. It will be so much easier for them to win again because they know how to do it. With them adding Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis, they have tremendous scorers and three-point shooters off the bench. Then they also have the greatest player in the game with LeBron James. I give them the edge because they're defending champions.

Given that dynamic you outlined and the talent the Lakers have, how quickly would you expect everything to come together?

It's highly expected from the fans and I'm sure from [General Manager] Mitch Kupchak, people upstairs and the coaching staff. When you look at a guy like Pau Gasol, who's a skilled player. He's still here. Kobe is seeking his sixth championship. That's high on his list. But to get that, he's going to have to defer to Steve a little bit and let him run the show. Kobe can't be the one that always takes the shot. I don't think that's part of his dominance anymore. When you look at the bench, they were in last place in production last year. I see interesting parts with Antawn Jamison and Jodie Meeks. We expect them to blend [quickly]. They're not like rookies. It should work out fairly easily.

How early are you expecting? Training camp? Early in the season?

I don't know if it can be done in training camp because you're playing against each other a lot. Once the exhibition games start and teams have their actual rosters, it should be ironed out at the beginning of the season in November and December. But Dwight Howard is also going to have to play. We're not really sure when exactly he's going to be available. All of that is going to make a difference. They'll get some practice time and have games against different teams. They're still a fairly older team, but they have a good core of experience.

What do the Lakers need to do to fully maximize the talent they have?

The ball has to be in Steve Nash's hands. We haven't had a point guard like that since Magic Johnson. Steve Nash can make Ray Charles and Stevie Wonder look good on a basketball floor. Steve knows how to play the game with angles. A lot of that comes from his early soccer games. He knows how to get inside, deliver and you just have to put it in. I don't think they're going to have a major running game. But I think Steve Nash's ability to pass the ball can lead to some fast breaks. It's going to be based on pick-and-rolls and maybe some isolation plays with Steve and Kobe.

Last year, they ran some pick-and-roll with Andrew [Bynum] and Pau, but they ran a lot of isos with Kobe. I think that should change. I don't think we should have the defense looking straight at Kobe all the time. I'm assuming there will be more picks to make it easier for everyone.

What's the key for them to stay healthy?

That's a coaching decision. Coach Brown will have to figure out how to use his bench. It looks like they can contribute more minutes. So he's going to have to figure out how long he can play Steve Nash, Kobe Bryant. ... Then he'll have to figure out the practice time because it's a veteran team. It's going to be key to monitor that. With injuries, the older you get, the more they come.

How was that handled during your playing career?

Pat Riley didn't really manage minutes (laughs). That's why we had shorter careers, I'm assuming. He only did that once we got into the playoffs. If we wanted rest, we had to hurry up and declare the first seed. Then he started to minimize practices. Pat Riley was good with practices. He needed you during the games. But mid-season and the latter part of the season, if he saw there was some fatigue, he would usually give us rest by canceling practice.

However long that is, what do the Lakers need to do to mitigate Howard's absence?

I don't know what Brown will do. Jordan Hill is around, so maybe throw him in at power forward and put Pau at center. But they'll be able to survive before Howard returns. They're a talented team. The bench will be better. They've played without Andrew [Bynum] before and Pau stepped up. He's a veteran player. He should be able to adapt to the pick-and-rolls that Nash will probably run. I think they'll be able to survive until he gets back. But I haven't heard any concrete dates yet. No one knows until he gets some elbows and gets used to the contact again.

You mentioned earlier you didn't like how Howard handled his exit from Orlando. How does he go about changing his mindset?

I'm an old veteran. I'm old school. Just do your job quietly in a methodical way. Limit the distractions. Don't get caught up in the media too much. The sooner he can get here and settled in and realize this is a winning franchise, there's no real need to talk a lot. He just has to play. I know we live in an era when there is a lot of marketing. We had Shaq with Superman. Now we have Superman II. But we want championships, and I know he does too. Once he does that, he can talk all he wants after that.

With the bench, how do you ultimately determine whether they're a successful unit?

Defensively, they have to be able to sustain leads and hold people in that area. They're going to have to put points up. Some teams can put up a lot of points. That has to be consistent. If they're only scoring 15 points a game, the bench's defense has to be tighter. But they're going to need more production than that. The bench's play will be the only way for Mike Brown to limit the minutes for the starters.

How would you compare the pressure Coach Brown faces this year, managing a talented team, versus last year, when he had limited training camp and dealt with a fledgling roster?

You have to give him the benefit of the doubt. Last season, he had a rough start with the [lockout] and coming in as a new coach. He was just gathering information and not necessarily trying to please everybody, but listening to everybody to incorporate ideas. This year, Mike will be a little bit more in control. He wasn't out of control. But he will be more defined with what he's doing. He won't need as much input. He brought in [assistant] Bernie Bickerstaff, who has a great mind for the game and has been around for a long time. He will add a lot of stability to the coaching staff.
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Re: Worthy: Miami Heat still has the edge over the Lakers

Postby Texas Lakers Fan on Tue Sep 25, 2012 12:36 am

Well they're the defending champs and are the team to beat till someone knocks them out, but if you put a gun to my head and asked who'd win in a seven game series I'd say Lakers in 7. Miami's biggest problem is they simply have no on to guard Howard. They're gonna have to double team which will leave guys like World Peace, Jamison, Meeks, Nash, and even at times Kobe wide open. On the other end it'll be very difficult for James to get to the rim with Howard in the middle.

I'm more concerned about Oklahoma City. We still have no one to guard Russell Westbrook. He'll run circle around Nash although at least now he'll have to play defense. Perkins can't stop Dwight, but he has done a decent job against Dwight in the past. Unlike Miami the Thunder won't have to double team Howard. Sefolosha makes life hell for Kobe. He'll still get his points, but he needs to do it efficiently or we're in trouble. I think for us to win World Peace needs to do a better job of containing Durant and Pau has to win his matchup against Ibaka. With the additions of Jamison and Meeks I think our bench is as good as their bench. I think whoever has home court would win that particular series.
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Re: Worthy: Miami Heat still has the edge over the Lakers

Postby noobiew on Tue Sep 25, 2012 1:35 am

No problem Worthy we will get them !
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Re: Worthy: Miami Heat still has the edge over the Lakers

Postby hollywood swinger on Tue Sep 25, 2012 1:40 am

it's funny how people have forgotten how great of a player D12 because he hasn't played for some time due to injury. should be funny seeing people flip flop on how good the Lakers are once he is playing 100% healthy and happy.
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Re: Worthy: Miami Heat still has the edge over the Lakers

Postby lakerfan2 on Tue Sep 25, 2012 8:05 am

Worthy's just trying to start a fire.

(looks at Pau Gasol)
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Re: Worthy: Miami Heat still has the edge over the Lakers

Postby v1n5anity on Tue Sep 25, 2012 8:14 am

Texas Lakers Fan wrote:Well they're the defending champs and are the team to beat till someone knocks them out, but if you put a gun to my head and asked who'd win in a seven game series I'd say Lakers in 7.


You just contradicted yourself. All you ever say is that we have done nothing yet and we have to prove ourselves. But you think we'd beat Miami in a 7 game series? That doesn't make sense.

On the other end it'll be very difficult for James to get to the rim with Howard in the middle.


Very difficult? LeBron had a couple subpar games last season against ORL but he hasn't really had a problem getting inside against Dwight/Orlando. Remember in '09? LeBron averaged nearly 40 8 8 for the series. He had a 51 point game against ORL in the '10/'11 season. No player in the league will make it "very difficult" for LeBron to get to the rim. He's too good.

With the additions of Jamison and Meeks I think our bench is as good as their bench. I think whoever has home court would win that particular series.


This is just ludicrous. Harden is better than anyone on our bench by a significant margin. Collison/Maynor are decent backups too. No way our bench matches up with OKC's unless you don't count Harden as a bench player.
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Re: Worthy: Miami Heat still has the edge over the Lakers

Postby Lakerjones on Tue Sep 25, 2012 8:43 am

I'm pretty much in agreement with everything Big Game said in that interview. The CHEAT won last year and we have to come together so you give them their due. We'll beat 'em though!

My favorite quote:
What do the Lakers need to do to fully maximize the talent they have?

The ball has to be in Steve Nash's hands. We haven't had a point guard like that since Magic Johnson. Steve Nash can make Ray Charles and Stevie Wonder look good on a basketball floor.
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Re: Worthy: Miami Heat still has the edge over the Lakers

Postby wcsoldier81 on Tue Sep 25, 2012 9:01 am

Finals against the Heat would be fun

Wade- Allen- Battier-James-Bosh or Chalmers-Wade-Battier-James-Bosh against Nash-Kobe-Metta-Pau -D12 down the stretch
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Re: Worthy: Miami Heat still has the edge over the Lakers

Postby Lakerjones on Tue Sep 25, 2012 9:02 am

wcsoldier81 wrote:Finals against the Heat would be fun

Wade- Allen- Battier-James-Bosh or Chalmers-Wade-Battier-James-Bosh against Nash-Kobe-Metta-Pau -D12 down the stretch


^^ It really would be superb. That's what we're hoping for!! Can't underestimate OKC though. They will be hungry to get back to the Finals.
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Re: Worthy: Miami Heat still has the edge over the Lakers

Postby Texas Lakers Fan on Tue Sep 25, 2012 9:17 am

V1n5anity wrote:
Texas Lakers Fan wrote:Well they're the defending champs and are the team to beat till someone knocks them out, but if you put a gun to my head and asked who'd win in a seven game series I'd say Lakers in 7.


You just contradicted yourself. All you ever say is that we have done nothing yet and we have to prove ourselves. But you think we'd beat Miami in a 7 game series? That doesn't make sense.

On the other end it'll be very difficult for James to get to the rim with Howard in the middle.


Very difficult? LeBron had a couple subpar games last season against ORL but he hasn't really had a problem getting inside against Dwight/Orlando. Remember in '09? LeBron averaged nearly 40 8 8 for the series. He had a 51 point game against ORL in the '10/'11 season. No player in the league will make it "very difficult" for LeBron to get to the rim. He's too good.

With the additions of Jamison and Meeks I think our bench is as good as their bench. I think whoever has home court would win that particular series.


This is just ludicrous. Harden is better than anyone on our bench by a significant margin. Collison/Maynor are decent backups too. No way our bench matches up with OKC's unless you don't count Harden as a bench player.

How am I contradicting myself? I simply looked at the matchups and made a prediction. You always find something to complain about. As for LeBron there was a stat brought out where he shot under 40 percent against Dwight last season. Now of course no one is gonna stop him, but do I believe Howard will make life tough for LeBron just like he did last season. As for OKC you are severely overrating James Harden. Did you see how awful he was in the Finals? He's a good player, but not the elite player you're making him out to be. Yeah he is better than anyone we have on our bench, but not by the margin you claim. Last season Antawn Jamison averaged just as many points as he did. Now he wasn't as efficient, but last time I checked he didn't play next to Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant. Without those guys Harden's efficiency would plummet just like it did in the Finals. Meanwhile for Jamison he'll be playing next to three superstars in Kobe, Dwight, and Nash so his efficiency will heavily increase. Collison and Maynor are average players no better than Meeks or Hill.
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Re: Worthy: Miami Heat still has the edge over the Lakers

Postby Doc Brown on Tue Sep 25, 2012 9:20 am

^^^ So Jamison is going to put up 17-18 ppg off the bench next year, to match Harden? Interesting....
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Re: Worthy: Miami Heat still has the edge over the Lakers

Postby Finwë on Tue Sep 25, 2012 10:31 am

:man10: V1n5anity vs KeepBynum/Texas Laker Fan, here we go again.
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Re: Worthy: Miami Heat still has the edge over the Lakers

Postby therealdeal on Tue Sep 25, 2012 11:12 am

Lakerjones wrote:
wcsoldier81 wrote:Finals against the Heat would be fun

Wade- Allen- Battier-James-Bosh or Chalmers-Wade-Battier-James-Bosh against Nash-Kobe-Metta-Pau -D12 down the stretch


^^ It really would be superb. That's what we're hoping for!! Can't underestimate OKC though. They will be hungry to get back to the Finals.

+1 Well said LJ.
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Re: Worthy: Miami Heat still has the edge over the Lakers

Postby lakerfan2 on Tue Sep 25, 2012 11:14 am

So are Nash and Dwight, and of course, Mamba.

Catch Jordan, tie the Celtics overall rings, then be primed to overtake those? :jam2:
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Re: Worthy: Miami Heat still has the edge over the Lakers

Postby v1n5anity on Tue Sep 25, 2012 11:19 am

Texas Lakers Fan wrote:How am I contradicting myself?


Because you are the one that has always maintained that the Lakers have not played together yet and haven't proved anything, etc. And now you pick the Lakers to beat the defending champs :man10:. How is that not contradicting yourself?

You always find something to complain about.

Maybe if you were more rational, I wouldn't complain as much.

As for LeBron there was a stat brought out where he shot under 40 percent against Dwight last season. Now of course no one is gonna stop him, but do I believe Howard will make life tough for LeBron just like he did last season.


You said Dwight would make it "very difficult" for LeBron to penetrate. No one in the world can make it "very difficult" for LeBron to penetrate. Do I believe Dwight can help slow him down somewhat? Sure. But LeBron has always found ways to be effective against Dwight and the Orlando Magic. In 32 career regular season games against Orlando, LeBron is averaging 27.2 pts, 7.4 rbs, 6.6 asts on 47.2% from the field. Those numbers are right around his career averages. There's really no evidence that Dwight can slow down LeBron save for a couple games last season.

As for OKC you are severely overrating James Harden.


Not only are you underrating James Harden, but you are overrating Antawn Jamison. You are expecting 17+ ppg from a guy who simply won't get enough minutes/shots to put up those kinds of stats. Jamison is pretty much a one-trick pony. Harden can do many things on a basketball court and that's what makes him valuable.

Did you see how awful he was in the Finals?


Yes, I did. He struggled because he went up against the best pick and roll defending team in the game. And that's when he's most comfortable, in the pick and roll. Did you see what he did in the first three series? You can't just discount what he did to help OKC get to the Finals.

He's a good player, but not the elite player you're making him out to be.


This is what I should say to you about Jamison :man10: . I never said Harden is elite. But when comparing benches, it's obvious that Harden is significantly better than any of our bench players.

Yeah he is better than anyone we have on our bench, but not by the margin you claim.


Yes, he is actually. Harden might get max money, that should tell you something. He can do a lot of things on the court that Jamison simply cannot. Such as playmake for others, play D, draw fouls, and get to the free throw line.

Last season Antawn Jamison averaged just as many points as he did.


Jamison averaged 17 ppg on 16 shots per game. Harden averaged 17 ppg on 10 shots per game. Come on now.

Now he wasn't as efficient, but last time I checked he didn't play next to Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant. Without those guys Harden's efficiency would plummet just like it did in the Finals.


It's not that he's more efficient than Jamison. He's more efficient that most players in the league. That's impressive no matter who your teammates are. He gets to the rim, he shoots 3s at a high rate, and he takes and makes a bunch of free throws per game. The most efficient shots are layups/dunks, free throws, and threes. He does all of those at a VERY efficient clip. But don't take my word for it:

mySynergySports ‏@mySynergySports
When James Harden attacks the rim out of an Iso, he gets to the line 25% of the time, that's more often than any player in the NBA.


mySynergySports ‏@mySynergySports
James Harden is shooting 56% on high isos this season with an adjusted FG% of 61.1, the best mark in the NBA.


mySynergySports ‏@mySynergySports
Harden gets to the line like a big man, on 20.1% of his possessions overall. 2nd to Dwight Howard who gets to the line 24.7% of the time.


mySynergySports ‏@mySynergySports
Ryan Anderson was the 2nd most efficient scorer w/ 800+ possessions, scoring 1.11 Points Per-Possession. James Harden was 1st with 1.13 PPP.


mySynergySports ‏@mySynergySports
Harden ranks in the top 9% of NBA players in efficiency on the pick and rolls, spot-ups, isolations, hand offs, off screens, and cuts.


Harden is one of the most efficient scorers in the game. That's insanely valuable (and scary) especially considering he plays with the best scorer in the game.

Meanwhile for Jamison he'll be playing next to three superstars in Kobe, Dwight, and Nash so his efficiency will heavily increase.


Everyone should expect Jamison's efficiency to increase. However, he will never be one of the most efficient players in the game like Harden is. He won't be able to match Harden's scoring (which is Jamison's one strength). On top of that he won't be able to match Harden's production on every other facet of the game (besides rebounding maybe).

Maybe this will help you understand efficiency: when you look at the court as different parts, we can split it 5 categories. Shots at the rim, shots from 3-9 feet, shots from 10-15 feet, shots from 16-23 feet, and three pointers. Most of Hardens shots come from three pointers (4.7 attempts per game @ 39% = very efficient). The next most shots come at the rim (3.4 attempts at a ridiculous 70% FG = ridiculous efficiency). Harden attempted 10.1 shots per game last season. 8.1 of those shots (80% of his attempts) were layups/dunks and three pointers. He only took about 2 shots per game from 3-23 feet. On top of all this, he shot a very respectable 6 free throws a game at a very efficient rate of 85%. This is what you call efficiency. On the flip side, most of Jamison's attempts were threes (4.1 attempts at only 34%). This is not that efficient of a shot considering Jamison is only a 34% career three point shooter. The next most shots came from 16-23 feet (4 attempts per game @ just 29%). He also took about 4 shots at the rim (he's a PF) and shot about 63% from there. Of course, Jamison should be expected to shoot more efficiently on this team, but these numbers are not too off from his career numbers. He's never really been an efficient scorer. Also, Jamison shot about 4 free throws a game last season at under 70%. So yeah, Harden is more efficient and is a better scorer than Jamison. Considering scoring is Jamison's one strength, I don't see how one can argue that Jamison is close to Harden's level production wise. Take off your Lakers goggles please.

Collison and Maynor are average players no better than Meeks or Hill.


Irrelevant. Harden is so much better than anyone on our bench and that's what makes their bench stronger. It's as simple as that.
Last edited by v1n5anity on Tue Sep 25, 2012 11:38 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Worthy: Miami Heat still has the edge over the Lakers

Postby lakersStan24 on Tue Sep 25, 2012 11:34 am

Have we done something wrong just seems all Laker Legends are Rooting For Miami, at Least Magic Johnson is Praising Us & Dwight
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Re: Worthy: Miami Heat still has the edge over the Lakers

Postby Weezy on Tue Sep 25, 2012 11:55 am

Defending champs always get the benefit of the doubt as long as they keep their team intact or even add to it.
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Re: Worthy: Miami Heat still has the edge over the Lakers

Postby davriver290 on Tue Sep 25, 2012 12:50 pm

Doc Brown wrote:^^^ So Jamison is going to put up 17-18 ppg off the bench next year, to match Harden? Interesting....



Harden could start if he wanted to.

But besides Harden, Durant, and Westbrook; who else can contribute? There bench is in a way overrated. Harden is their only player who can really do anything. Collison and MAynor are good, but I mean not better than Jordan Hill and Jamison good.
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Re: Worthy: Miami Heat still has the edge over the Lakers

Postby lakerfan2 on Tue Sep 25, 2012 1:11 pm

lakersStan24 wrote:Have we done something wrong just seems all Laker Legends are Rooting For Miami, at Least Magic Johnson is Praising Us & Dwight


smh, they're not rooting for miami, they're saying miami won the last championship, and it's gonna take us beating them to be considered better than them.
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Re: Worthy: Miami Heat still has the edge over the Lakers

Postby Kit on Tue Sep 25, 2012 3:33 pm

What is wrong w/ picking HEAT to have the edge over the Lakers??
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Re: Worthy: Miami Heat still has the edge over the Lakers

Postby BadCoaching on Tue Sep 25, 2012 9:06 pm

Well they are champs, I'll give them the nod for now.. we haven't even seen our unit play a real game together.

Worthy is just being a showman and sparking some fires.. it's really nothing.
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Re: Worthy: Miami Heat still has the edge over the Lakers

Postby intuitivelOve on Tue Sep 25, 2012 9:35 pm

im tired of everyone saying what the lakers cant do.
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Re: Worthy: Miami Heat still has the edge over the Lakers

Postby gcclaker on Wed Sep 26, 2012 9:47 am

Miami's core gets the props since they have played together for two full seaons, won the title and have upgraded their bench. The Lakers have the components but have yet to prove themselves as a unit on the floor.
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Re: Worthy: Miami Heat still has the edge over the Lakers

Postby Tobias Funke on Wed Sep 26, 2012 11:09 am

gcclaker wrote:Miami's core gets the props since they have played together for two full seaons, won the title and have upgraded their bench. The Lakers have the components but have yet to prove themselves as a unit on the floor.


Not disagreeing with you, but I got a chuckle because two years ago it was the other way around with Miami having just formed their team and we were fresh off a title and had "upgraded" our bench with Blake and Barnes.

Personally Im very confident in our ability to win a title.
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Re: Worthy: Miami Heat still has the edge over the Lakers

Postby Jazzygirl205 on Thu Sep 27, 2012 1:15 pm

He's right and they've acquired the greatest 3 point shooter of all time, added some other pieces. They have LeBron, and we all know LeBron can basically carry a team by himself. So I dont mind him giving them the edge.
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