Commentary

Debate: West's biggest threat to Lakers

L.A. is the clear favorite in its conference, but which team is best suited for an upset?

Updated: October 7, 2010, 1:30 PM ET
By Chris Broussard and Ric Bucher | ESPN The Magazine
Andre Miller and Kevin DurantLayne Murdoch/Getty ImagesDurant is a superstar in the making, and Miller provides veteran leadership for a long playoff run.

The only thing Ric Bucher and Chris Broussard like to do more than report on the NBA is argue about the NBA. So we decided to combine those two skills for Insider's weekly One-on-One series, in which they'll debate the hottest topics in the Association.

Question: Which West team is best suited to pull off a Lakers upset?

BUCHER: With all that changed in the NBA during the offseason, one constant remains: The Los Angeles Lakers are the overwhelming favorite to win the Western Conference again. But who is the biggest threat to upset them? I'm going to go with the West team that scared them the most this past spring, the Oklahoma City Thunder.

BROUSSARD: I think Oklahoma City is the non-Lakers team that is most able -- perhaps even likeliest -- to have the best West record. But I think the Thunder are too young to reach the NBA Finals. Getting through that tough Western Conference playoff gauntlet is a lot to ask of a team with just one year of postseason experience and no playoff series wins. I thought about taking Dallas, but I can't put my faith in the Mavs. Therefore, I'll go with the Portland Trail Blazers.

Ric Bucher

NBA Reporter, ESPN The Magazine Senior Writer