Two offseason trades have shifted the power in the West. The Los Angeles Lakers recently ended up with Steve Nash and Dwight Howard during the offseason. This championship contending team will be compared against the reigning champions Miami Heat, position by position to see who has the real advantage.
At point guard for the Los Angeles Lakers is the two time MVP Canadian Steve Nash and the Heat’s Mario Chalmers. Steve Nash’s agreement to go play for the Los Angeles Lakers made it clear; he is in it for the ring. 38 years and aging Nash still puts up very impressive numbers on the board. He may just have the required experience and leadership to bring the Los Angeles Lakers another ring. Averaging 10.7 assists per game in the last season, he has the basketball IQ to lead plays for Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard. Considering Steve Nash new pick and roll partner Dwight Howard, the Lakers will be a formidable opponent. Mario Chalmers on the other hand is young, energetic but not as skilled or experienced as Steve Nash. He has proved himself to be a very capable player in the playoffs but it is not enough to match up to Nash. Chalmers was definitely a role player for the Heat and will continue to do so this upcoming season. Bottom line Steve Nash wins the guard race against Chalmers.
At the shooting guard position is the highly anticipated match up of the 34 year old Kobe Bryant and superstar Dwanye Wade. Despite getting older, Kobe is consistently putting up legendary numbers each season. Even though he isn’t the run and gun Kobe, he has developed into a clutch shooter. With that being said, Dwayne Wade is more explosive, and can get to the line whenever he wants. In this day and age the ability to drive and get fouled will be more useful come playoff time. If Wade can stay healthy for the whole playoff stretch it will be a hazard to the Lakers. Along with Wades electrifying offense, he has a very dominant defence too. He is very capable of playing lockdown defense all night on Kobe making his life very difficult. This is a tight matchup and Dwayne Wade has the slight but ever so crucial advantage.
At the small forward position is Metta World Peace against the MVP LeBron James. World Peace is known for his lockdown defense, and of course the occasional emotional spur. Metta World Peace is able to shut down the best including Carmelo Anthony, and Kevin Durant. Lebron James will definitely have a hard time getting to the hoop against World Peace. The 260 pound monster is strong enough to stop any drive and get in the face of every shooter. Metta World Peace won’t shut down LeBron completely, but LeBron will be exhausted and frustrated by the fourth quarter. James will be playing a mix of small forward and power forward this season. Smaller defenders such as Matt Barnes, will be the victim of an easy post up by James. Larger players such as Gasol are not nearly fast enough to cover James. Lebron will win the matchup with no questions with his superior offensive IQ, however World Peace is going to make James work for every shot.
At the power-forward position it will be Lakers Paul Gasol and most likely Shane Battier or Udonis Haslem. Paul Gasol is a well-oiled veteran putting up decent numbers on the board and securing key rebounds. He will have a slightly easier time in the post with against with the height advantage. Battier is known for his superior defense and his game winning attitude. Along with his lethal perimeter shooting status he will be a very significant role player. This is a win for Pau Gasol mostly because of his position advantage.
Chris Bosh and Dwight Howard will face off in the centre position. Dwight Howard is arguably the best centre in the NBA right now and Bosh is nowhere close enough to contend that. Howard will show a definitive edge on the glass, and in the paint. As he will just out body the lanky Chris Bosh. With Howards athleticism it will be killer, paired with Nash’s pick and rolls. Remember Amare Stoudemire? Yeah, the deadly pick and roll is back. Bosh may try to retaliate with his perimeter game, especially his face up shots, but Howards height and superior leaping skills will deliver a hand in the shooters face every time. Bottom line, the Lakers have every advantage in this matchup defensively or offensively.
Last but not least the bench production will be absolutely crucial. Bench players like Ramon Sessions, Steve Blake, Matt Barnes and Antawn Jamison will step up for the Los Angeles Lakers. Ray Allen, Rashard Lewis and James Jones are the supporting actors for the Heat. Steve Blake will be a good backup for Steve Nash. Blake’s surprisingly tight defense will be a useful tool along with his three point range. Ramon sessions will be a suitable guard to take Kobe’s place. He is a decent shooter and can get to the foul line. Matt Barnes has proven himself throughout the season to be athletic and a streaky three point shooter. More importantly, he can play tight defense on Wade, Lebron or Bosh if necessary. Antawn Jamison is the driving force of the bench, he averaged 17 points last season and will be the key sixth man. He can play the forward position very well against the Heat’s bench or even their starters. Jamison will be the deciding factor to the bench. Three point specialists Ray Allen and James Jones adds colour to the perimeter. Ray Allen’s questionable health status will remain uncertain but, he definitely draws attention off the big three. Rashard Lewis is very similar in comparison with Antawn Jamison and should not be over looked. A very capable perimeter player but also dangerous in the paint, Lewis will definitely be a key role player. In the end, Lakers still have the more formidable bench including variety.
Time to tally up the results! Los Angeles Lakers win 4 to the Miami Heat 2. Nonetheless this matchup will be very exciting and every NBA fan will be on the edge of their seats when they play in the upcoming season. My prediction is that Lakers win in 6. Tell me what you think of the Lakers vs.Heats matchup.
Check out this video of Steve Nash talking about why he chose Los Angeles!