The San Antonio Spurs have clinched the best record in the Western Conference, home court advantage throughout the West playoffs, and are a favorite to win the NBA Finals.
But don't tell that to Los Angeles Lakers' and favorite player Spurs fans love to hate, Kobe Bryant.
Bryant feels his Lakers will be the last team standing and carrying away yet another Larry O'Brien Trophy.
"I expect to win it, absolutely," Bryant told 710 ESPN's "Max & Marcellus Show" on Wednesday. "I think the thing that's our biggest strength is our versatility and our size. (Ramon) Sessions has added another dimension to our team in terms of speed and point guard that can score the ball. Our bench has been playing extremely well. We've been shooting the ball extremely well, and our biggest key is our perimeter shooting, limiting our turnovers, and keeping the game at our pace. If we can do those things in the postseason, I like our chances."
Still, even Bryant knows the West will be tough.
"Everybody's a problem," Bryant said when asked who the top contenders were. "The Western Conference has been tough from top to bottom now for years. There are no easy matchups. You can't look at one particular matchup and say, 'OK, that's going to be an easy series. That's going to be a gimme series.' That just doesn't happen in the Western Conference."
OK first off I cannot blame Bryant for having confidence in his team's chances at winning the NBA crown. I am sure Spurs fans would expect to hear Tim Duncan to spout confidence about the Spurs in an interview but I think Kobe needs a reality check.
The Lakers actually lost size when they dealt Lamar Odom to the Mavericks. Also, Andrew Bynum has a knack at showing up for some games and not showing up for others. Not to mention, he displays immaturity and could do idiotic things on the court like sending players hard to the court as he did last season to J.J. Barea in the Lakers' series versus Dallas. Furthermore, LA will be without Metta World Peace for the first round due to his seven-game suspension for elbowing Thunder's James Harden.
Moreover, their bench is suspect. Guys like Josh McRoberts, Darius Morris, Andrew Goudelock, Troy Murphy, Steve Blake, Christian Eyenga, and Steve Blake may be playing well but it is still a bench which does not send shivers down an opposing team's spine.
Sure Ramon Sessions might be a great addition to the Lakers but he isn't one of the top point guards playing in the West playoffs like Tony Parker, Chris Paul, Jason Kidd, and Russell Westbrook.
Of course anytime Kobe is on the court for the Lakers, it's going to spell trouble for any team who has to face them in the playoffs, however, it is going to take a lot for LA to win it all. With teams such as the Thunder, and Spurs (who won the season series 2-1 and best them convincingly in two of those games) likely to win the West, the Lakers could go past the first-round but that's about it.
Oh, and to address the actual topic of the article, I think Kobe is suffering from the typical delusions of a narcissist. I would be very happy if they didn't make it out of the first round.
I think Kobe on the court is overrated - especially against the Spurs. Lakers are used to hiding him on a non-factor offensive player must of the time to conserve his energy. With our guys not just standing around waiting on an ISO play, but screening and rolling and whatnot, he's going to have to work harder than usual on D, and he'll still slack off and leave his man open for 3 or not rotate over to cover another guy. Not that anybody will blame him, because it will be always be somebody else's fault for doubling when they shouldn't have, or for not rotating to cover Kobe's man, when Kobe went to "help" on defense.
Personally, the only time I think Kobe on he court is trouble, is near the end of a game when the score it close and you REALLY need to lock down, because he does have the ability to get open shots against a single defender, and to get guys to foul him, and he'll make them at a normal rate. All the rest of the time, I'll take Kobe all day long. It's not like he's going to shoot 80% or go for 70 points or something if we don't double him. He's not going to beat anybody by himself.
If the Fakers end up playing Denver, they will be probably upset in the first round. However, they are probably going to get Dallas and roll over their fading carcass. I really hope they somehow find a way to beat OKC because we will DISMANTLE them in the WCF if they even get that far.
Everybody is entitle to an opinion, bryat has, but the spurs won't allow it. The spurs is poised to take on ALL comers.
I would have been okay if he said that his team has a chance at the title, but saying he "expects to win the title" is just being cocky. Oh well, whatever.