Tuesday, June 3, 2008

2008 NBA Finals Preview

On Thursday night the Lakers and Celtics will face off in a historical rematch of the NBA's two most storied franchises in the 2008 NBA finals.

Both teams entered the playoffs as the number one seed in their conference. The Lakers came out of the Western Conference by leaning on Kobe Bryant’s MVP skills and Paul Gasol down low. The Celtics are led by the trio of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen.

Here comes some position breakdowns and analysis.

Homecourt Advantage
Both teams are good at home but I can't go against the Garden. Their rowdy fans will have the team fired up and ready to win.
Advantage: Celtics

Point Guard
Rajon Rondo vs. Derek Fisher
Obviously Derek Fisher has the clear advantage when it comes to experience, he has won 3 NBA Championships and played in 148 career playoff games and Rajon Rondo has won 0 championships and played in only 20 career playoff games. This is an interesting match up because neither player is one of the best players on their respective teams but both players can be very important to their team’s success. Both Rondo and Fisher are very good defensive players and both have already faced fantastic point guards in their run to the finals. Fisher has faced Allen Iverson, Deron Williams, and Tony Parker, three perennial all-stars, while Rajon Rondo has faced Mike Bibby, Delonte West, and Chauncey Billups. I believe that playoff experience is an over hyped statistic in this match up because although Rondo is very young and is in his first career playoff year he has played exceptionally well and has played much better than Fisher has statistically, out performing Fisher in every category but steals and turnovers, and has been more involved in the teams offense than Fisher.
Advantage: Rajon Rondo

Shooting Guard
Ray Allen vs. Kobe Bryant
Ray Allen is a great player. He experienced some struggles throughout the playoffs but has started to find his shot as of late. A shot that is the quickest, smoothest, and pretties in the league. But Kobe is the best player in the world and has been showing it as of late. This one isn't really that close.
Advantage: Kobe Bryant

Small Forward
Paul Pierce vs. Vladimir Radmanovic
I believe that this is the biggest mismatch of them all. Paul Pierce has routinely owned his opponent throughout these entire playoffs and this series and this matchup should be no different. Radmanovic is just too slow and simply not good enough to guard a player that is as good and hot as Paul Pierce is. Radmanovic only averaged 8.3 points per game in the series vs. the San Antonio Spurs even though he played over 24 minutes per outing. Radmanovic is not what you would call a shut down defender either, he is very slow on his feet and even though he has a height advantage most of the time he is not a very good shot blocker or rebounder.
Advantage: Paul Pierce

Power Forward
Kevin Garnett vs. Lamar Odom
Although Lamar Odom is playing very well in the post season I do not believe he is ready to deal with a player of Garnett’s ability. Garnett is the premiere power forward in the game today and might be in the top 3 all-time at the position. Garnett is not just a dead-eye shooter from 17 feet, an unstoppable turn around jumpshooter, or a fantastic leader, he is also the reigning Defensive Player of the Year in the NBA and has played his best defensive basketball of his postseason career. Garnett can control the entire paint for minutes at a time and that is a huge luxury. Lamar Odom is used to having a large height advantage or a big advantage in the quickness department but neither will be there in this matchup.
Advantage: Kevin Garnett

Kendrick Perkins vs. Paul Gasol
Kendrick Perkins has been playing great in the postseason up to this point but now he is dealing with a different animal than in his previous playoff matchups. Pau Gasol did not play great on the offensive end against the San Antonio Spurs but he sure did rebound great. Gasol is one of the best passing bigmen in the game and he plays good defense. Perkins is playing great but he still doesn't stack up.
Advantage: Paul Gasol

Overall I think this is going to be an amazing NBA Finals. My Prediction is Celtics in 7. I just think that KG, Paul Pierce, and Ray Allen will not be denied after coming this far. Pierce will have a HUGE series, KG plays great D, and James Posey will be big off the bench as well.

What do you think? How would you break down the positional battles? Predictions?


Stefan Ming said...

Easily Fisher over Rondo

I like the Celts too in 7. They just provide too many match up problems for the Lakers. LA just doesnt match uop with them well like they did against the Spurs or Jazz.

twins15 said...

I'm not a huge fan of breaking things down by position, though if you are you have to keep in mind LA's huge advantage in coaching and bench. I think the opposite of Stefan... I don't see how the Celtics match up with LA. How are they going to guard Gasol and Odom down low? I'm not sure. Unless Ray Allen takes a swim in the fountain of youth for a whole series (rather than just once every 4 or 5 games like he has been), I like the Lakers in a big way. Lakers in 5 - they've been the best team in the NBA ever since the Gasol trade.