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Bruce Bowen not sold Lakers will be better than Thunder

Aug 17, 2012, 1:45 PM EDT

Kobe Bryant Kevin Durant Getty Images

Finally, we have reached that time in August when we can definitively speculate on what teams will be playing like next May and June. Because we all nailed that Mavericks championship two years ago and got that Heat vs. Bulls Eastern Conference Finals we expected last year.

On paper it does seem to be a two-team race out West. The Thunder just went to the finals and their young core — Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Harden — returns wearing gold medals. They are young and should be improved. But the Lakers could be even better now that they have a monster lineup after adding Steve Nash and Dwight Howard to Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol.

That roster has a lot of people are now leaning Lakers in the West, but former Spur and ESPN commentator Bruce Bowen isn’t one. He was on Sports Radio 560 WQAM and Project Spurs gives us the transcription.

“There’s a team out West called the Oklahoma City Thunder. Those young boys, it seems like each and every year they get better… I don’t think you can rule them out with their starters, their bench. You look at Kendrick Perkins and Serge Ibaka down low, I think they will be aggressive and challenge Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol. Then you look at James Harden coming off the bench, who’s going to matchup with him? It’s not even a question with Steve Nash and Russell Westbrook. So now it leaves Kobe and Kevin Durant…. I’m not sold on this new Lakers team because it takes time to gel.”

Bowen isn’t wrong, it does take time for a team to come together, especially since Howard could be out at least for most of training camp and maybe the start of the season. The Lakers have overhauled their roster and overhauled their coaching staff and will run some Princeton sets. It’s all new. There are a lot of things to bring together for Mike Brown and staff. A lot of things for the players to figure out.

Really, we’re not going to be able to judge the Lakers vs. Thunder until what we see the Lakers are playing like in March. Remember, it took the Heat more than a season to win with their superstars and the idea it could take a couple years for the Lakers is very possible (even if they get by the Thunder there will be the Heat to contend with).

But we should speculate about it now.

  1. paleihe - Aug 17, 2012 at 2:02 PM

    Can’t wait for the season to start!

  2. crustylovelips - Aug 17, 2012 at 2:04 PM

    Say what you want about how great the Lakers are.. Mike Brown is still the coach.. and he’s “terrribullll”

    • limonadamas - Aug 17, 2012 at 2:15 PM

      People said the same thing about Doc Rivers until he won. Let’s give him a chance with this roster. If the Lakers flame out again, I’m pretty sure he’ll get canned.

  3. limonadamas - Aug 17, 2012 at 2:13 PM

    I love how everyone seems to think it’s a foregone conclusion that the Lakers will take forever to gel just because the Heat took over a year to fully gel. A better analogy would be the 2008 Celtics, with complementary, veteran pieces. It didn’t take THEM that long to gel. Why not compare these Lakers with that team?

  4. dls612 - Aug 17, 2012 at 2:22 PM

    Miami,Lakers,Oklahoma,LA Clippers ,Spurs, and maybe a couple more teams are great teams and it will definitely come down to who’s healthy, hungry ,and coaching! So as a heat fan I so often mention, its cool to agree to disagree on who’s team is better. Going to be fun posting comments this up coming season!

    • dls612 - Aug 17, 2012 at 3:47 PM

      Bruce Bowen picked thunder over Miami ,take a look at my first comment and u decide!

  5. loungefly74 - Aug 17, 2012 at 2:25 PM

    right. it’s all specualtions and opinions right now. good thing they actually play at some point so we can all find out. (unlike the Dream Team vs. 2012 talks/specualtions/opinions)

  6. teedraper - Aug 17, 2012 at 2:38 PM

    I guess Helin completely misses the fact that the Celtics didn’t need a year when they acquired KG and Ray Allen.


    There isn’t anything right about what Bowen said. You would take any quote from an ex-average NBA player that speaks negatively of the Lakers.

    • celtics1297 - Aug 21, 2012 at 9:30 PM

      It all depends on kobe and if he’s ready to concede his role as “alpha dog”. This won’t work with Kobe averaging 27 pts on 43% shooting. I think he’s much more mature then in 04 when he forced shaq out cuz he wanted to be #1. If that happens I expect the lakers to be back in the finals facing my celtics for one last grudge match.

  7. hoodheisman - Aug 17, 2012 at 3:05 PM

    The Lakers have a higher ceiling than both the Heat and Thunder. I’d agree with Bowen that the Lakers might not be the team to beat in August or September. But I’ll be surprised if the Lakers aren’t the team to beat in May and June. To take a quote right from Bowen “So now it leaves Kobe and Kevin Durant”… Kobe’s shown he knows how to win in June…. and now LeBron has shown he knows how to win in June. Durant still has a ways to go based on his performance last June.

    • passerby23 - Aug 17, 2012 at 3:32 PM

      First of all, I don’t buy this “it all comes down to Kobe and Durant” stuff. I believe the difference maker will be Dwight Howard. If he brings consistent rebounding and blocked shots without disrupting chemistry and being a distraction, they’re the team to beat. The Thunder do present some matchup problems with their big 3, and Nash is going to have to deal with one of them.

      As for Durant having “a ways to go”, the guy did pretty well against the Lakers this year. The kid is just getting better every year.

    • mnsportsfan - Aug 17, 2012 at 3:57 PM

      The problem with the Lakers’ lineup is that it isn’t like wine and only gets better with age. I’m not saying they won’t be a top tier team because they will be. The problem with a really old team will always be injuries and limiting minutes. The Celtics were able to stay healthy this year for the most part and were stellar but look at the year before that.

      • stickesabado - Aug 17, 2012 at 5:01 PM

        I like that… good point…. I’m almost more excited we finally have some age on the team… Reminds me (In a way) of the lakers 3-peat teams, especially the 99-00 team.. just without the bench.. which I think will be a solid group, but based on years past, I wouldn’t bet on it…But AC Green starting, Glen Rice Starting, Ron Harper Starting with Horry, Fox, Shaw off the bench..

      • stickesabado - Aug 17, 2012 at 5:03 PM

        and dammit i didnt mean finally have some age… i should have wrote “solid veterans” or something.. lakers have had some age years past… derrrrr, my bad

    • taurean84 - Aug 17, 2012 at 4:01 PM

      Everybody must didn’t see Durant in the Olympics dropping three points everywhere he has got better than he was last year and he will prove it on the court next season and the Lakers will not gel and will lose again against THUNDER

      • raiders1211 - Aug 20, 2012 at 7:30 PM

        Slap yourself

    • jimmymarlinsfan - Aug 17, 2012 at 5:02 PM

      I have no idea how you can even fathom the Lakers having a higher ceiling, the Hat just won a title and appear to have the Eastern conference locked down for the next 5-6 years…is there higher ceiling than that?

    • thomaskouns - Aug 17, 2012 at 5:54 PM

      Bowen is exactly right.

      People and the media get focused on the big names on the Lakers (Nash, Kobe, Gasol) in particular without looking at their age as well as the fact the Lakers get hyped more than any team in the league.

      These are all declining players no matter how good they used to be and Howard is coming off back surgery.

      Westbrook is going to torch Nash who has never been known for his defense and especially at 39.

      Sorry but Kobe had a .43 field goal percentage last year and has a lot of mileage on that body.

      The entire core of the Thunder haven’t even reached their individual peaks and will only be hungrier and better players from last year.

      The thunder have a better balanced team 1 through 12 as well.

      Come playoffs, the hype will fade as the Lakers do.

    • jolink653 - Aug 18, 2012 at 2:15 PM

      Perkins is capable of limiting the impact Howard can make on a game and Ibaka the same thing on Gasol….Perkins has no offensive game though and Ibaka’s is still developing but it would be a battle down low…No question Westbrook has the advantage on Nash as Nash has slowed down and never could defend so it would be up to Westbrook to drive and force Howard to help and hopefully get him into foul trouble and it would be Sefolosha on Kobe not Durant, and while Sefolosha is a great wing defender and can force Kobe into some bad shots, we all know you can never stop Kobe…Durant against MWP I don’t even need to comment on…I think it would be a 7 game series but I think the Thunder are more than capable of beating this team

  8. zzr600guy - Aug 17, 2012 at 3:10 PM

    kobe guards westbrook and harden, MWP on durant, maybe morris can help guard the 2. Pau and D12 will own serge and Kendrick. The Thunder will still be very good but the Lakers have surpassed them IMO.

    • progress2011 - Aug 19, 2012 at 2:59 AM

      This is just a very silly comment !

      kobe can’t check smaller, fast guards. They typically leave him standing at the top of the key. Westbrook would go for 40, if kobe tried to check him.

      Nash can’t guard anyone on the Thunders team. Insert Steve Blake, that will be a comedy show also. Westbrook will be practicing new dunks on dude. Goudelock has a nice shot but he can’t do anything with the Thunders backcourt either.

      Howard will be in foul trouble the entire game and will foul out, trying to block Harden and Westbrook shots.

      The lakers MIGHT win one game out of a seven game series !

  9. geo59 - Aug 17, 2012 at 4:05 PM

    Please don’t put any more Bruce Bowen (NBA’s all-time leading dork) opinions out for public consumption. Please.

  10. teehov843 - Aug 17, 2012 at 4:13 PM

    Who cares what Bruce Bowen says. He’ll never pick the Lakers because of his days playing with the Spurs! Stick to tying your ugly little bow ties. You non-freethrow shooting, corner three point shooting BUM! LMAO!!!

  11. chargersallday17 - Aug 17, 2012 at 4:19 PM


  12. chadinkc30 - Aug 17, 2012 at 4:24 PM

    The most underestimated signing of all offseason is Steve Nash. I know that’s hard to believe, but he brings so much that this team hasn’t had in over a decade. Russell Westbrook will score more than Nash, but I’m not certain he’s a better POINT GUARD. There will be games where Nash will get u 15 assists, where Westbrook will get 5. Nash is a better distributer, free throw shooter, three point shooter, & leader. Those are important qualities of a POINT GUARD

  13. magicbucs - Aug 17, 2012 at 4:46 PM

    Lmao! Doc rivers never coached a lebron james type player or had a stacked laker team. Doc had a tmac In his prime and scrubs. Then the celtics big 3 but won a championship with them.

    I say brown is fired after this year and that would be a better off season move for the lakers than getting Dwight. And I’m a magic fan saying this crap. OKC wins the west. Perkins always has guarded Dwight the best. Worst games vs any other center. Ibaka plays with Gasol on the national team and knows how his weakness. Kobe is Kobe but a year older Kobe. Nash is almost 40 and his defense is worse than jameer Nelson’s. Have fun cleaning up after Nash Dwight. I dare you to call out your guards on defense like you’ve done for years in Orlando.

  14. UCFpirate - Aug 17, 2012 at 4:50 PM

    No Phil Jackson = No Title

  15. lakerluver - Aug 17, 2012 at 6:48 PM

    A former Spur picking against the LAKERS?! Priceless. We shall see, Mr. Bowens, we shall see.

    • loungefly74 - Aug 17, 2012 at 10:45 PM

      “we shall see”…my 3 favorite words this season, luver…

  16. lakerluver - Aug 17, 2012 at 6:52 PM

    The same people who criticize Mike Brown probably are the same people who thought Coach Spo should’ve been fired.

  17. jerdogthompson - Aug 17, 2012 at 7:28 PM

    Now now people. Quit bashing the Faker faithfuls. Despite the fact of all the known concerns about their newly formed team. We must all allow them to fantasize about how great their team Viagra will be next season. They are disillusioned beyond belief and will only make the inevitable crow feast all the more palatable and satisfying. Until then, refrain non-faker fans please….

  18. nightrain42 - Aug 17, 2012 at 9:00 PM

    Valid points…..but Bowen is a bitch a$$ Laker hater, always has, always will be. What people aren’t realizing is that D12 didn’t have anyone around him who commanded individual attention. Now he has 3 players who will command attention. Perk ain’t $hit

  19. shockexchange - Aug 17, 2012 at 9:27 PM

    This Lakers team ought to be illegal. For the rest of the league “Bye-bye baby.”

  20. chadinkc30 - Aug 17, 2012 at 9:34 PM

    We sat behind the glass behind home plate. I’m not exactly sure of the name of company she works for

  21. malcom1985 - Aug 17, 2012 at 10:13 PM

    Serge Ibaka is good.. but Kendrick Perkins? Seriously? I mean really? lol.. it shouldn’t be a surprise that Bruce Bowen would be against the Lakers. Just watch him on TV when questioned about the Lakers, or something pertaining to the Lakers is being discussed.. the hatred he feels is all over his face.

  22. waiting4asuperbowl - Aug 17, 2012 at 10:35 PM

    bruce bowen is a douche. Of course he isn’t isn’t picking the lakers. Probably bitter from losing to them all the time!

  23. rickyspanish - Aug 18, 2012 at 12:01 AM

    James Harden? The same James Harden that puked all over himself in the Finals? Not too worried about him, he’s a sideshow and the Finals proved it.

  24. polarbearsquares - Aug 18, 2012 at 2:28 AM

    I’m not sure I’m sold on Bruce Bowen as a solid NBA analyst. And he thinks Kobe’s going to be defending Durant he’s foolish. But the way, who do they have to guard Kobe? Thabo? The guy he scored 42 on in Game 5 last year? Ok. Not to mention the Lakers now have a better bench than OKC.

  25. dal24la - Aug 18, 2012 at 2:48 AM

    Even ignoring how much Bowen underrates Howard, who btw put up a 20 pt 22 rebound game with a herniated disc, basketball doesn’t come down to individual match ups or Miami Heat would be repeating as champions.

    • dal24la - Aug 18, 2012 at 2:55 AM

      Ignore above post.
      Bowen underrates Howard’s effect on this series. Howard averages 18.9 pts on 55.8 FG% and 14.2 rebounds when playing against Perkins in playoffs, and that was with another dominant big in KG to help him. Ibaka will have to focus his attention on Gasol and can’t roam around as much get his spectacular weakside blocks.
      Sure Westbrook will torch Nash but Westbrook torches 90% of PGs in the league yet Thunder don’t win 90% of games.
      Also Dwight put up a 20 pt 22 rebound game with a herniated disc, I think he will be just fine after surgery.

      And the last 2 superteams both made it to Finals their 1st seasons, so I’m not overly worried about “taking time to gel”.

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