Regardless of who's gonna come out from the West, what do the Thunder and Lakers have in common that the C's should highly consider and strategize on as the season goes on? Both teams have legit starting scoring front court players and 1 or 2 superstar back court finishers - Howard/Gasol/Bryant/Nash and Perkins/Ibaka/Westbrook/Durant.
Now, what's the offense style difference between the two? The Thunder is a high FG-percentage running team and the Lakers is more of a half-court offensive team. What's the defense style difference between the two? Virtually none, but both have 1 or 2 shot-down players who can effectively guard the opposing team's superstar clutch finishers in the likes of James, Pierce, Kobe, Durant, Wade, Nash or even Westbrook.
As we all know, and hate to admit, more than 90% of finals games are decided in the last 5 minutes of regulation time. The team with the most one-on-one clutch players wins - with the exception of Jordan's Bulls of course.
I am not downplaying the Heat, but NBA championships are not won in the East or West alone, for that matter. What or who does the C's have now that they should work on or tweak skills-wise in order to win over the younger and faster East teams in preparation to go tooth for tooth against the Thunder or Lakers come NBA finals? To me, the C's starting 1-4 positions - with KG at 4, Green at 3, PP at 2 and Rondo at 1 - are more than enough offensively and defensively against the 1-4's of the Heat, Thunder or the Lakers. The weak link still lies in the 5 position. KG was OK at 5 between the 2010-2012 seasons but nobody was able to pick up the offensive and defensive whole he left - Big Baby or Bass were not able to fill that void, mind you. The 2008-2010 seasons were the C's strongest having Perk as the anchor. I just hope Doc and their trainers will be able to re-tool Milicic or Collins - 2 of their most probable starting centers after announcing that they are going to go big this time - in time as the season goes along.
If this is going to be the case and they are stuck with Milicic, Collins and even Melo, how are they going to achieve re-tooling them?