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Discussion Starter #1
Breaking Down the Lakers
For the past three years, the Lakers have been sitting atop the NBA totem pole. The past three Championship series’ have afforded us all the priviledge of watching Shaq bowl over his defender and dunk in his face; good watchin’ if you’re from L.A., painful to watch if you’re from anywhere else in the world. However, there may finally be hope for all those non-Laker fans out there. This year’s western conference finals, if nothing else, showed that this team is not invincible. Laker supporters like to say things like, “Shaq is unstoppable” and, “As long as Shaq and Kobe are alive and well, Kings=no rings”. Don’t buy any of it. Hell, the Lakers barely survived a Peja-less Kings team this year.
It seems as if the Lakers stranglehold on the rest of the league is starting to loosen. But are they really declining? After all, Kobe is 23 years old, and has improved, if anything, since their first title run. As for Shaq? When you’re 7’2, 360 lbs., how much is slight decrease in mobility due to an arthritic toe really going to hurt your game? It may just be that this Kings team is posing the first real challenge they’ve faced since their rise to dominance. Sure, the Blazers took them to 7 games in 1999, but that was a much less battle-tested Laker team they were facing. Plus, the Blazers never had anyone with anything even close to Mike Bibby’s poise.
What makes the Kings so good against the Lakers? The answer is that their team is built to exploit the Lakers weaknesses, few as they are. They’ve got the skilled big guys in Divac and Webber who are good enough shooters to draw Shaq away from the basket a bit. They’ve got a Kobe-botherer in Doug Christie. They’re best player down the stretch of games, Mike Bibby, a pg who’s game involves using screens to get off his shot, is exactly the type of player the Lakers are least equipped to defend. This team showed that the Lakers were beatable, but more importantly, they provided a blueprint for how to expose their weaknesses.
For now, the Kings are the only team in the league who’s even got a shot at ending the Lakers dynasty. However, there is one other team on the NBA horizon that is built similarly to the Kings, and could one day have a chance to take down the Lakers. Should the Kings fail to advance past the Lakers, the hopes of every basketball fan outside of L.A. will fall squarely on the young shoulders of the Chicago Bulls. When you look at this team, you can see what Jerry Krause had in mind when drawing up his rebuilding plan; this team is custom built to take out Shaq, Kobe, and the Lakeshow. In Jay Williams, the Bulls have the speedy, screen-using, sharp-shooting pg in the mold of Mike Bibby. They’ve their own Kobe-botherer in Trenton Hassell. They’ve got the clutch shooting and veteran toughness of Jalen Rose, who I’m sure would love to get back at the Lakers for ousting his Indiana team from the 2000 finals. But what really sets them apart from the other promising young teams in the league is their frontcourt. In Tyson Chandler and Eddy Curry, the Bulls have the biggest, most athletic frontcourt in the league, and the ideal tandem to play Shaq defensively. For starters, Curry, along with Michael Olowokandi, is one of the only centers who even comes close to matching up with Shaq physically. He also showed impressive shooting touch out to 15 feet last season, and attribute which could be crucial in luring Shaq away from the basket. At the PF spot, you’ve got the shot-blocking, athletic freak that is Tyson Chandler. Chandler is one on the quickest, most athletic players at 7’2 that you’re ever going to find, and if there is one bigman who is quick enough to double-team Shaq and still be able to get back to his man in time, it’s Tyson.
The Bulls beat the Lakers both times they faced them this year. Coincidence? I don’t think so, at least not entirely. The Lakers did not exactly play to their potential, but then again, the Bulls haven’t even reached theirs. Had they been able to keep Ron Artest, the one true Kobe-stopper in the league, they would be in even better shape. However, I think it was worth it, because they were able to bring in Jalen Rose. If the Kings don’t beat the Lakers first, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a rematch of the 1991 NBA finals in a few years. Who knows, maybe it will even end the same way, with the Bulls as World Champions.
 

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Not bad.

The Bulls are not ready to challenge for even the eastern conference YET. you article is witness that you wear your pride on your sleeve, however, it ain't happening yet. This Bulls team will win 35 or more games this year I believe, but will fade in the playoffs as their experience will be limited to that of jalen rose. Still, a good article of how most of us Bulls fans would love for it to end up. I WANT THE BULLS TO BEAT THE LAKERS WHILE SHAQ AND KOBE ARE THERE!!! fun reading...:grinning:
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Yeah, I know the Bulls aren't ready to do anything yet, but it's alot more fun to think about challenging for a title in a couple years than to think about them challenging for the final playoff spot this year, right? Anyway, you never know with the East-maybe they can challenge in the east this year (probably not, but it's a nice thought).
 

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Re: Not bad.

Originally posted by BamaBull
The Bulls are not ready to challenge for even the eastern conference YET. you article is witness that you wear your pride on your sleeve, however, it ain't happening yet. This Bulls team will win 35 or more games this year I believe, but will fade in the playoffs as their experience will be limited to that of jalen rose. Still, a good article of how most of us Bulls fans would love for it to end up. I WANT THE BULLS TO BEAT THE LAKERS WHILE SHAQ AND KOBE ARE THERE!!! fun reading...:grinning:
The point you make is true, but who on New Jersey had any playoff experience before last season?

Kidd had 22 playoff games
Todd Mac had 23 playoff games but only a total of 133 playoff minutes
Van Horn, Kidd, Kittles and Williams all had 3 playoff games

That's a TOTAL of 57 games playoff experience.

Here is the Bulls' playoff experience as of now:

Rose 58 games
ERob 14 games
Hoiberg 6 games
 

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I second BamaBull's "not bad" status. I think this is a less far-fetched line of thought than most people who think that the Bulls can rise to beat the Lakers soon.

But there are a few points of dispute.

1. Kobe Bryant is turning 24 this year, already among the top SG's in the league, and he continues to work hard on his game every offseason. In the McGrady vs. Bryant battles I always choose McGrady as the better and more complete player, but Kobe Bryant is STILL ON THE RISE. He might not be good enough to carry this team on his back yet, without Shaq, but by the time he'll have to, he WILL. The so-called Kobe-stoppers will have much more to deal with, and the front office seems to be taking a step in the right direction by grabbing a future sweet shooter in Kareem Rush...

2. You speak EXTREMELY HIGHLY of Chandler and Curry if you believe that they are the only frontcourt tandem to be able to guard a Shaquile O'Neal with two bad feet. Brand and Kandi have both been known to D up on Shaq ONE ON ONE (Brand played extensive minutes at center when he was on the Bulls, and they often left him to guard Shaq). I'm sure if you stuck a bunch of the seven-footers from Dallas together, they'd be able to do a job on Shaq. What about Yao Ming and Eddie Griffin? Yao Ming comes into the league with one of his main goals being to beat Shaq. As far as purely physical specimens, Jerome James has as much potential to guard Shaq as Eddie Curry. On the offensive end, Curry is far advanced, but on the defensive end, James is a young, HUGE center (7-1, 272 lbs.) that averaged 1.54 bpg in only 17 mpg, along with 5.3 ppg and 4.1 rpg. Although James is already 27 years old, he's got enough upside and definitely the physical strength to be used against Shaq very effectively..

The point is, Curry and Chandler are extremely talented, and may end up being the best frontcourt duo in the future, but they are certainly not a last hope in NBA frontcourts against Shaq.

3. The Bulls beating the Lakers twice this year were the two funniest occasions in NBA basketball for a long time... any game where Brad Miller and Shaq get in a brawl will have me laughing any day of the week. The Bulls defeated the Lakers in OVERTIME by ONE POINT with Kobe bricking tons of shots and Shaq EJECTED. In the other game, Shaq didn't even play, and it just goes to show how important he is to the team if the Bulls can beat them when he doesn't play.

4. While you write very interesting stuff about how the Bulls match up against the Lakers, you don't talk about how they match up against the best teams in the East, including New Jersey, Boston, New Orleans, and Orlando. To play the Lakers in the Finals, the Bulls need to be in the Finals, and thus they must reign as Eastern Conference Champions...


An interesting article, but I'd say more fantasy than fact.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Oh yeah, i know that there are other talented young frontcourts who can play Shaq well, i was just saying that Chandler and Curry are the best equipped for the job, and they are a part of a team that is well suited to play the lakers. Th point of the article was not to suggest that the Bulls can beat the Lakers this year or even next year. It was not to suggest that they're the only team outside of Sacramento that may be able to beat them one day. I was just saying that if there is one team out there who may one day be able to beat them, the Bulls are it. As for other teams, I'm not really sold on Ming and Griffin (a bit too thin), but i think Brand and Kandi will be able to play Shaq very well, just not quite as well as Tyson and Eddy. Also, the Clippers as of this point lack the dynamic pg and clutch scoring that the Bulls have.
That may not be the case one day, but I'm speaking of the players each team has now. As far as Jerome James goes, i agree that he matches up Shaq well defensively, but he isn't as mobile, athletic, or skilled as Curry, and won't be able to do anything against Shaq on the other end of the floor like Curry can.
As for the Bulls, i think their monster frontcourt will give them a huge advantage over the rest of the east one day, and that should give them a good shot at the finals in a couple years.
 

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Ming with his narrow frame, even if he weight trains 5 hours a day with steroids , will never develop the upper body strength to match up against Shaq.

Griffin is also on the thin side.

Kandie has true center size and is starting to play more physical. As of right now he is the only player in the league who really matches up size wise on Shaq.

There is a big difference betw. J.James 271 and 27 yrs old vs Curry 285 and 19 yrs old.

With Curry wide body and his current lack of mass at 285, it's quite conceivable that Eddy could easily put on 20 to 30 pounds
of muscle by the time he's 22.

Eddy took off 30 lbs of fat to get down from 315 to 285. Now with the correct diet and training he can easily replace that baby fat with muscle.

Chandler may top out at 245 -255 with his narrow frame...but supposedly he's also still growing taller nearing 7'2.

The good thing about EC and TC is that they are really pushing one another to develop. So those two may ultimately become one the most dynamic front court duos in 4 to 6 yrs. Expecting too much to soon though would be a bit unrealistic.

The thing though is that when Chandler and Curry are coming into their primes, Shaq will be nearing retirement.
 

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Points well taken, ztect. That last one is the key, about Shaq nearing retirement.

If the article is to be projected over the next few years, the NBA will look completely different. The key to the game won't be to beat Shaq anymore, at least, not in its current insurmountable state. He'll be older, still a beast, but weaker in the knees and softer in the feet.

The teams to beat probably won't look like the Lakers of today. I'd be interested in an Orlando team with Grant Hill, Tracy McGrady, Tim Duncan..?? The difference between that team and a different team with a lot of high profile names is that TD knows what it is like to win a ring already.

All the NBA teams will look dramatically different, but going by today's rosters, the Clippers will have built quite a team from Kandi and Brand, the Celtics will still be steamrolling, the Suns will be one dominating big man away from something amazing (Marion, Joe Johnson, Stephon Marbury, AMARE STOUDAMIRE, Casey Jacobsen... all very young), and Grizzlies probably a perennial playoff team by that time. How will the Bulls match up against them?

How they match up against Shaq isn't as important, although I'm sure that the Lakers will continue to be a force for years to come.
 

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Wazaaaaaaaaaaaaaap Bulls fans!!!!

This is my very first time posting over here. Let me TELL y'all somethin'....I've NEVER been THIS excited over this Bulls team (since the Dynasty years).

I got a GOOD feelin' about this team...and I'm DAMN proud to say that I'm a Bulls fans and that I'm affiliated with fans as die hard as myself.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I just meant the article to be in the event that Sacramento is like the Knicks were to the Bulls and ca never overcome the Lakers, in which case i see the :Lakers in the finals for at least the next 4 yeasrs. I don't hink ORL is getting TimD.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Showtyme

As far as the other teams you mentioned, I'm not terribly worried. Jerry West may build Memphis into a prennial playoff team, but unless they get LeBron I don't think they'll ever be as good as the Bulls will, and only one team can have LeBron. I don't think the Suns will ever get the great big man they need. They'll be good with Marbury, Amare and Marion, but none of those players are that great. I can't see either of these teams ever getting past the top teams in the west, Dallas, Sacto, LAL and later on LAC. Speaking of the Clips, I think that in terms of talent they are really the only team that can equal the Bulls. However, their future is much more uncertain than the Bulls. How much of their talent will they be able to keep? Who, if anybody, on that team will be able to carry them late in games? They won more games than the Bulls last year, but for the aforementioned reasons I actually think the Bulls are farther along in their bid to be a contender. The Bulls have a set lineup that they will be able to keep together for a long time, the Clips still have alot of question marks.
 
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