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Heat assistant and NBA legend Bob McAdoo thinks OKC’s still better than L.A.

Sep 22, 2012, 9:00 AM EDT

Kevin Durant, Kobe Bryant AP

It’s going to be the question du jour leading up to the start of the NBA season. By All-Star Weekend it could have faded completely or changed into a bigger question of Lakers vs. Heat, but for right now, the big one is who’s the best in the West, the Lakers or Thunder? And the New York Post reports that Heat assistant coach and NBA legend, former MVP Bob McAdoo thinks that it’s the Thunder who retained control of the conference and a spot in the Finals. From the New York Post:

Despite the buzz about the Lakers adding Dwight Howard and Steve Nash, McAdoo expects to see the Thunder again in The Finals if Miami gets through.

via Bob McAdoo, formerly of New York Knicks, watches daughter Rasheeda win qualifying round at U.S. Junior Tennis Open –

It’s not a crazy thought, or outlandish, and it’s no disrespect to the Lakeshow. The Thunder still feature the Western Champs, feature a younger roster built around a centrally better player than anyone on the Lakers (Kevin Durant has arrived, folks) and a top-ten player in Russell Westbrook, arguably a top-fifteen player in James Harden. They have depth, versatility, can run and score in bunches. Their defense isn’t elite but it’s still good enough to get the job done against 97% of all teams in the NBA.

And McAdoo is just an opposing assistant coach. It’s notable, because he’s a legend and he has perspective, and it’s worth talking about. But from his mind everything has to be played out. We just have to see how this Lakers thing, with the talent and the age and the power and the injuries and the roster and the coaching works out. Until then, you’re going to find a pretty even split between the two.


  1. buffalo65 - Sep 22, 2012 at 9:09 AM

    Thunder young with upside, lakers old on the decline. Makes sense.
    Howard isnt old but his body is, his mentality is that of a 10 year old though so it all balances.

    • denimourson - Sep 25, 2012 at 12:29 AM

      Does he play like that on the court for I seem to know a former Lakers C by the name of Bynum who was more of a baby on the court ,

  2. paulhargis53 - Sep 22, 2012 at 9:30 AM

    This should be good. I can’t wait to see all the hatred and ignorance come out against McAdoo. 75% of the lakers fans won’t even realize he was a key reserve for the Lakers. its always cute when the lakers fans turn on their own when the player is no longer useful to the team.

    • crtzinc - Sep 22, 2012 at 12:00 PM

      Got to love old guy comments and their assumptions.

  3. passerby23 - Sep 22, 2012 at 9:31 AM

    Harden = good player. Top 15? I don’t see it. Just off the top of my head:

    1. Lebron
    2. Wade
    3. Kobe
    4. Durant
    5. Westbrook
    6. Howard
    7. Bosh
    8. Rose
    9. Rondo
    10. D. Williams
    11. Melo
    12. Nowitzki
    13. Paul
    14. Parker
    15. Love

    Then, you’re talking about a whole host of players who are ARGUABLY better, such as Blake Griffin, Paul Pierce, Rudy Gay, Manu Ginobili, Steve Nash, Amare Stoudemire, Danny Granger, KG, Andrew Bynum, Josh Smith, Al Horford, Eric Gordon, etc etc.

    Harden is clearly NOT in the top 15, but in the mix for top 30 I would say.

  4. manchestermiracle - Sep 22, 2012 at 9:49 AM

    Mac’s just hoping the Heat get another walk-over, that’s all.

  5. dcnome4 - Sep 22, 2012 at 9:52 AM

    On what planet is James Harden a top-15 player?

  6. Foul Dwimmerlaik - Sep 22, 2012 at 9:54 AM

    That makes me one of the “25%” then. *rolleyes*

    Thunders are the WC Champs. They are the team to beat in the WC by default.

    Lakers will just to have to work it out to prove otherwise.

  7. paulhargis53 - Sep 22, 2012 at 10:01 AM

    Foul, good for you. Why must you be so sarcastic with me though? The rolls eyes comment was totally in.necessary…..;-)

    • Foul Dwimmerlaik - Sep 22, 2012 at 11:20 AM

      Paul, my sarcasm was directed on how you got your percentage. It could have been 40%… or even 10%. XP

    • Foul Dwimmerlaik - Sep 22, 2012 at 11:35 AM

      But I understand your frustration over a number of my fellow Laker fans.

      I don’t mean to be apologetic, but all teams have these types of fans. It’s just that somehow talking about the Lakers seem to find its way in the conversation — even if the topic is not about them.

      Laker fans are just too proud of the consistent accomplishments of the franchise through the years.

      I bet if the Bobcats had the same situation, them fans would be just as loud as the Lakers fans.

  8. phx1311 - Sep 22, 2012 at 10:05 AM

    The lakers will be a good team but after having the pleasure of watching nash play every other night i know he breaks down right after the all star break.

  9. magicbucs - Sep 22, 2012 at 10:18 AM

    The dwightmare has reached LA. He just said the other day that he doesnt know if he’ll resign. He’ll make his decision after the season. GOOD LUCK with that coward LA. He’s going to be a distraction plus he will start crying about being the 4th option on offense.

  10. Foul Dwimmerlaik - Sep 22, 2012 at 11:28 AM

    In as much as the present Lakers roster looks so awesome, it would be better to be prudent and see how it plays out. I’m concerned about both Nash’s and Howard’s backs. There’s also the coaching and chemistry to look into (among others).

    That being said, I like the Lakers chances of getting banner 17.

    But would it be a walk in the park (see Metta’s comments on 73 wins)?

    I honestly don’t think so. I have too much respect for the other elite teams’ capabilities to take what they think is also their destiny.

    • passerby23 - Sep 22, 2012 at 12:36 PM

      I’m with you. Nash’s and Howard’s backs are big question marks, and I still have trouble envisioning Nash and Kobe working together as both have been ball-dominant (but completely different) players their entire careers. And while there’s still the Dwight factor waiting in the paint, the overall team speed and perimeter quickness has to be a concern for the old Lakers. MWP is not what he used to be as a defensive stopper, and neither is Kobe for that matter. OKC can still hit the Lakers where their weaknesses are.

      I see the Lakers going about 62-20 and the Thunder 60-22, meeting in the Western Conference Finals, and playing to six or seven hard-fought games.

  11. jerdogthompson - Sep 22, 2012 at 11:55 AM

    I don’t think I’m reading the comments properly…………whats this I hear? A semblance of Laker fan humility? Not sure what’s going on here and quite frankly not sure if I might need reading glasses.

    I do know one thing….,this season needs to start yesterday. Until then.

  12. money2long - Sep 22, 2012 at 1:42 PM

    i don’t believe westbrook, as talented as he is and how much he’s reversed some criticism, that he’s a top 10 nba player. he is certainly worthy to make a case for him though. but i don’t think he’s broken through just yet.

    • money2long - Sep 22, 2012 at 6:11 PM

      top 9: dwight, durant, wade, paul, dwill, kobe, lebron, carmelo, rondo
      any one of these guys can make a case for 10 (dirk, love, griffin, westbrook)

    • money2long - Sep 22, 2012 at 6:14 PM

      also…rose would easily make top 10 if he were healthy.

      • danfrommv - Sep 22, 2012 at 7:02 PM

        And Jerry West would be a top 10 if he were 40 years younger. But he isn’t, like Rose isn’t, and he may never be healthy/quick enough to be elite again, so what is your point?

      • money2long - Sep 22, 2012 at 10:47 PM

        haha^ nice try. but your logic is flawed. the reason being that someone turning back the hands of time is strictly theoretical, while my injury assessment of rose is hypothetical.

    • miamatt - Sep 22, 2012 at 8:44 PM

      I agree 100%. Could definitely make a case for Westbrook, but not a slam dunk for him YET.

      I actually question calling Harden a top-15 player more than Westbrook as a top 10. I’d take the 13 that @money2long named, plus two out of Tony Parker, LaMarcus Aldridge, Chris Bosh before I’d put Harden in.

      • money2long - Sep 22, 2012 at 10:55 PM

        yess miamatt !

        i was going to throw tony parker in there too, but i didnt want the backlash. i feel a lot of people don’t appreciate TP’s game. some are blinded by westbrook’s athleticism and PPG that they ignore tony parker being a great point guard who is quite possibly in the top 5 of point guards. less turnover prone than westbrook, gets more assists, better fg%, plays smarter (iq is very important. if westbrook had tony parker’s iq he’d be unstoppable). westbrook has many times where he is outta control. but that is what makes him great.

        it can be a toss up. but many feel the clear cut favorite between parker and westbrook is westbrook, and i think it’s because his speed combined with his athletic ability gives him the edge in fans’ eyes.

    • progress2011 - Sep 23, 2012 at 2:56 AM

      Monopoly money2long…

      You are concerned about the wrong thing. It’s entirely irrelevant, if Westbrook is a top 10 player, in your opinion.

      The correct question, you should be concerned about is, Can Westbrook get by Nash With Ease, 10 out of 10 times ?

      If your answer is anything other than a resounding YES…you will lose your last fake $10 monopoly bill.

      • money2long - Sep 23, 2012 at 2:17 PM

        being a better basketball player is about more than being able to drive past somebody.

        if you want a point guard who will make the smart passes 9 out of 10 times take nash
        if you want the point guard who will pass up on the right pass to go to the rim and try to dunk on the opposing team’s center, take westbrook.
        if you want the point guard who will most times hit his 3s, elite free throw shooter which helps in crunch time and will always take a shot from the field with high results, take nash.
        if you want the pg who will go out and give you 40 points take westbrook.
        if you want the point guard who will try to get 40 points by distributing the rock 40 times to different players to get those 40 points, take nash.

        westbrook can drive by A LOT people. that doesn’t mean he is better than them.

      • money2long - Sep 23, 2012 at 2:21 PM


        are their any REAL monopoly bills? no need to specify that the monopoly money is fake. but nice try being funny.

      • progress2011 - Sep 23, 2012 at 7:11 PM


        No need for me, to try to be funny, your screen name gives me and everyone else all the laughs we need. I simply used the additional FAKE description to give you a little extra dig.

        Glad to see you can take it in stride.

  13. sdlakerfan - Sep 22, 2012 at 3:57 PM

    Count me as one of the 25% too. McAdoo was a key piece of the showtime lakers – the most entertaining team ever IMO.

    Westbrook has emerged as a monster – can break a team’s defense down by himself. Only flaw is he’s a bit selfish sometimes. If I had to pick 10 guys Westbrook would definitely be one of them.

    I do feel OKC will still be a tough matchup for the lakers. Perkins matches up well with Howard and Westbrook will blow past Nash at will. Will be closer than last yr but still an uphill battle. Kobe seems to be declining as well. Hard to disagree with the hall of famer. Looking forward to seeing it play out and think it could go either way.

  14. paulhargis53 - Sep 22, 2012 at 6:00 PM

    foul: I tend to generalize. I don’t mean to say all Lakers fans are tools.

    There are an inordinate number of them though.
    I will try to address them directly going forward.

  15. dtskywalkerjordanshero - Sep 22, 2012 at 7:30 PM

    The Nuggets will finish the season ranked 2nd behing OKC, aging Lakers #3…

  16. j0esixpack - Sep 23, 2012 at 8:31 AM

    The fact that Miami dominated OKC as easily as they did, and that an old and injured Celtics team played the Heat tougher than the Western Conference champs shows that OKC and the West still have more work to do.

    Although older, I think the Lakers look at the Celts and see the value of veteran experience. OKC will develop that in time but I give the Lakers the advantage over them this season

    • progress2011 - Sep 23, 2012 at 7:20 PM


      Are you one of those celtic fans, still attempting to make an assertion that, the Celtics coulda, woulda, shoulda won ?

      If so, everytime you attempt to draw that conclusion, slap yourself in the face to attempt to wake yourself up.

      Then recall, Bosh was out most of the series and 80%, the rest of the playoffs/ finals.
      Also we now know, D-Wade needed knee surgery but played thru it, when the soft celtic players licked their wounds, while sitting out games on the bench, in their suits.

      Boston could NEVER compete with OKC either. You guys dont have the horses to run with Miami or OKC.

      Slap yourself again…..wake up !

  17. loungefly74 - Sep 24, 2012 at 12:35 PM

    we will see…we will see what happens.

    it will be interesting if the Thunder can finally win a title…because they have none…well, one if you incluse the sonics, as maybe you should…so okay…it will be interesting if that franchise can win a 2nd title in 33 years…

  18. paulhargis53 - Sep 24, 2012 at 6:19 PM

    lounge, that’s 2 posts of yours there was no reason for. Why don’t you do us all a favor and just read the posts.

  19. goldenhynes - Sep 24, 2012 at 8:31 PM

    McAdoo, maybe you’re too old the way you’re thinking…. If the Thunder find it hard to win last season against the Lakers with the worst NBA beach last season, how much more with the addition of Howard, Nash, Jamison and the rest of the beach. Are you kidding me? The Thunder would be lucky enough to win 2 out of seven. I predict 4-1 LAKERS!

  20. GymAlien - Sep 24, 2012 at 10:24 PM

    You know what? The Lakers ain’t won nothin’ yet. So, the Thunder have all the bragging rights in the West. On the other hand McAdoo apparently wasn’t a Laker long enough to have much loyalty to them; despite his playing days rings coming from nowhere else but Los Angeles. I think he’s afraid just like everybody else in the league and just trying to down play what most anybody can see… If the Lakers are healthy, nobody can match up with them until the bench (beyond Jamison) comes in.

    GymAlien said so.

  21. twinturbovr4 - Sep 26, 2012 at 3:20 PM

    That’s exactly why he’s asst not head cause he don’t know ishhh!!!

    Let the season do the talking!!!!:)


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