ABC/ESPN analyst Jeff Van Gundy not only is predicting the L.A. Lakers will defeat the Boston Celtics in the NBA Finals, he says the purple-and-gold are on the verge of a dynasty. Van Gundy, the former New York Knicks and Houston Rockets coach, will be joined by play-by-play announcer Mike Breen, analyst Mark Jackson and reporter Michele Tafoya for ABC’s coverage of the NBA Finals.
Speaking on a conference call Monday, Van Gundy said the Lakers are too powerful offensively for the Celtics.
“My pick, I think the Lakers are the most talented team in the league, and they’re missing their third or fourth best player in (Andrew) Bynum. So when they get him back next year, I think they can be a dynasty. The Lakers will win it this year over a very good Celtic team.”
Van Gundy said LA will win in six or seven games.
“The Lakers have the best offense. They’ve ratcheted up their defense in the playoffs and they have the ultimate closer in Kobe Bryant.”
“It’s a great contrast. It should be a compelling series. Defensively, Boston has quite a number of challenges. I think you have to guard all five spots of the Lakers. They don’t put anyone out there who can’t shoot or pass.”
The Lakers lost both times to Boston this season but the meetings came in 2007 before the Paul Gasol trade. Van Gundy called it “a steal” for the Lakers, who sent Kwame Brown, rookie Javaris Crittenton and two first-round draft picks to the Grizzlies. “I don’t use the word ‘trade’ because that implies equal value, and there was no equal value going on there.”
Memphis donated Gasol to the Los Angeles Lakers for whatever reason; I’m not sure what the Grizzlies’ reasons were. Maybe they wanted out from under his contract.”
ABC executives are hopeful of strong ratings for the finals. Last year, when the Spurs swept the Cavaliers, it produced a record-low 6.2 rating. This year should be much higher.