Los Angeles Lakers, Not the Miami Heat, Are the NBA Title Favorites

The Miami Heat have been the talk of the offseason. Dwayne Wade, LeBron James, Chris Bosh and the cast of characters populating the rest of the lineup have been touted as the favorites to win the 2010-2011 NBA Finals. 

Something tells me there's a team in Los Angeles that won't go down easy. And I'm not talking about the Clippers.

The Los Angeles Lakers should still be regarded as the favorite to win the title this season, for a number of reasons.

First of all, it starts at the top. Phil Jackson is one of the most decorated coaches of all time. With 11 NBA titles to his name, there's no one else I would rather have leading a team. His players know his system inside and out; it's a team built on continuity and a will to win.

Erik Spoelstra, on the other hand, has done little of note in his short NBA coaching career. His career record is an admirable 90-74, but he has never had to manage this many superstars. How he will handle the egos of three superstars remains to be seen.

While coaching is very important, the game isn't one played between two coaches. The players on the floor decide the outcome.

It's obvious that the Heat have a great Big Three. Wade, James and Bosh are all supremely talented. However, let's not forget the talent that the Lakers have.

It's a team whose core has played together for a championship run; it's not simply a collection of stars strung together in the offseason.

Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, and Ron Artest actually match up quite well with Wade's Heat team. In a seven-game series, there's no way to say that the Heat would automatically be the favorites.

With Artest guarding LeBron and Bryant shadowing Wade, you have two of the best perimeter defenders in the league checking the best two scoring options on the Heat.

Match Gasol with Bosh down low, and it's practically a wash.

The benches of each team are actual...

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