Friday, June 12, 2009

The Pens prediction was tougher....

I would love to put the Orlando Magic in as winner of the NBA Finals, but it's just not happening. It's the classic case of the veteran Lakers being just slightly better in terms of personnel, but light years ahead in experience.

The Magic are on their way to being one of the elite NBA teams over the next 5-7 years. They have a tremendous centerpiece in Dwight Howard, and good parts surrounding him. Those parts will get better over time. The Lakers of today, however, are better at virtually every position, but their greatest strength lies in Phil Jackson. He is working Stan Van Gundy over in these Finals. Not by his use of substitutions or anything like that. It's simply in the preparation. The Lakers seem ready for virtually anything the Magic throw at them, and that's a credit to Jackson.

The argument that Jackson is a great coach only because he has worked with great players is still thrown into the discussion. It could be made here: Kobe Bryant along with Pau Gasol, Lamar Odom, Andrew Bynum, and Trevor Ariza are all quality. Bryant's resume is sparkling, while the others are above average contributors. Jackson has won titles with the likes of Bryant, Shaw, Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, and a host of others that qualify is above average (or better) talent.

How would Jackson do coaching, say, the Charlotte Bobcats roster? We'll never find that out, of course, but it could be said he would fare no better than Larry Brown did last season. It's not that the Bobcats of today aren't talented--they aren't NBA Finals talented yet. That will come over time, I believe.

Statistically speaking, it is as likely for me to walk on the moon as it is for the Magic to win this series. NASA doesn't have my number, so the Lakers are going to take the title, probably in game 5, but if not, it's game 6.

On an unrelated basketball note, congrats to Butler High's Cierra Burdick. She was named to the USA Basketball U16 national team that will compete in Mexico City in August. A top 3 showing there will get Team USA into a tournament in July of 2010 to be played in France. She's a great player, and a solid student. A wonderful representative of Matthews, Mecklenburg County, Charlotte, and now the USA. WELL DONE!

* General Motors said Friday they are cutting NASCAR support in the near future, and that the cuts will be felt NASCAR wide. While sad for the teams, and the racing overall, the problem is bigger than the series affected. the American auto industry is in big time trouble, and this was one spot that money needed to saved, or in this case, not spent on racing.. The racing will go on, the teams will find a way to continue.

Enjoy your weekend, game 5 of the NBA Finals, and the Tar Heels in Omaha on Sunday.

Mike Solarte

No comments: