Kenny Smith Discusses NBA Playoffs and the Lakers’ Future

Kenny Smith Discusses NBA Playoffs and the Lakers' Future

The 2011 NBA playoffs have resembled the zaniness that usually occurs during the NCAA’s March Madness. The Memphis Grizzlies and Atlanta Hawks made impressive playoff runs while championship-caliber teams such as the Los Angeles Lakers, Boston Celtics and San Antonio Spurs were eliminated early. In turn, the NBA Finals will be void of the Spurs, Lakers and Celtics for the first time since 2005.

TNT Sports analyst and basketball guru Kenny Smith provides insight on the NBA playoffs and how the Los Angeles Lakers will adjust without Phil Jackson as the head coach. –amir shaw

Break down the final four teams. Why can each team win and what can prevent them from becoming champions?

The Miami Heat put the pieces together for a dynasty. Their only fault is lack of size and athleticism at the center and point guard positions. The Chicago Bulls have all the pieces, but they don’t have the experience of going deep into the playoffs. The Dallas Mavs have everything from coaching to a great bench. The only thing that can keep them from winning a championship is not being able to defend at the small forward position. Oklahoma Thunder has size, toughness and a great scorer. But their experience together is very limited.

Have you been surprised by any teams during the playoffs?

I think the teams have been on the verge for a while. We knew that the Chicago Bulls would be a contender if they could get someone on the low post with Derrick Rose. If the Dallas Mavericks were able to get toughness inside, they would be a contender. They picked up Tyson Chandler. We always felt Kevin Durant was an MVP candidate. I was only surprised with the Memphis Grizzlies going to the second round.

How will Kobe Bryant and the Lakers adjust without Phil Jackson as the head coach?

Without Phil jackson, the Lakers will have to find a coach that can fit the style of the players. But one thing about having great players is that they can play any style. I wouldn’t think the concerns are as big.

You host a basketball camp every year at UNC called the Kenny Smith Carolina Basketball Camp. What has been the most memorable story thus far?

A group of kids from England came to my camp a few years back. They weren’t privileged at all. But they had done car washes, school dances, and wrote to the government to help them raise enough money to travel so that their coach could bring them. I told their story to the camp. Whenever someone says there is a door that you can’t get through, there are ways to get through it. It’s important to understand how to get through those doors. They did a combination of things that made it possible.

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