The biggest obstacle to Banner's not the Lakers

Contrary to popular belief, parity is not good for sports.   Even in the 90's when the Celtics sucked, the Bulls success was good for the league. When you have the same team or teams that are good every year you create rivalries, which are what sports are all about.  This year the NBA is more top heavy than it has been in years, and I love it.  Sure, the fact that the Celtics are one of the top teams plays a factor, but I'd be excited regardless.  You basically have 5 teams that have a realistic chance to win it all; the Celtics,Lakers, Spurs, Cavs, and Magic.  Sure, there will probably be a team that sneaks up and makes a run at it, but I highly doubt someone outside of this top 5 have the goods to win it.

There has been a lot of talk about whether or not the Celtics have enough to beat the Lakers this year, but I don't think that is even their biggest concern.  It's not the Lakers, but the Spurs who will be the biggest obstacle to the Celtics 18th championship banner.  Look, the Lakers are definetly equipped to win another title.  However, people seem to think that the craziest person in sports(Ron Artest) is just going to blend in perfectly with this team. Besides the fact that the guy is crazy, he is not the Artest of a few years ago. He doesn't have the ability to shut down people like he used to, and takes shots out of the flow of the offense.  You add that in with the fact that Lamar Odom will probably be going through a divorce mid season, and you are looking at a team that may not be as much of a lock as people think.

The Spurs had a great offseason, but because they are the Spurs people still overlook them.   Do people forget how good Richard Jefferson is? This guy is a borderline all star and fits in perfectly with the Spurs system.  I think Duncan has one more MVP like year in him, and if(and that is a big if) Ginobli stays healthy this team could be scary.  That is what it all boils down to though. With a healthy Ginobli I think the Spurs get to the finals.  Without him, I see another Celtics-Lakers finals. 

If the Celtics are to win the title this year it might be the most impressive title run in their storied history.  The East is as good this year as it has been in a decade, and you have two teams in the West that have combined to win 8 titles in the last 10 years.  Still, barring injury I'm confident that the Celtics will prevail in June.

Prediction: Celtics over Spurs in 6.