August 10, 2012; El Segundo, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers center Dwight Howard holds his jersey during a press conference held to introduce the three-time defensive player of the year who they aquired in a four-team trade from the Orlando Magic. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE

Video: Skip Bayless puts Lakers behind Thunder, Spurs

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Skip Bayless’ affection for the Spurs has been apparent for the last five years, at least. Bayless consistently gives San Antonio the benefit of the doubt, which would put him in the good graces of Spurs fans if he wasn’t, well, himself

This time, in a debate with perennial Spurs adversary Stephen A. Smith, he ranked the Lakers behind the Oklahoma City Thunder and San Antonio Spurs. His proclamation was met with hysteria from Smith as he also laughed at Patty Mills and Tiago Splitter. Bayless brought up a couple of good points, though — the Lakers age and Dwight Howard’s injury concerns.

Smith, meanwhile, put the Lakers behind Oklahoma City.

My take. I’m not as optimistic as Bayless but, with this being said, I don’t think the gap between the Lakers/Thunder is as pronounced as some make it out to be. As good as the Lakers offense could become, San Antonio has already shown that they can score upwards of 112 points per 100 possessions. They still maintain that offensive productivity, and perhaps more so if Boris Diaw, Kawhi Leonard and the backup point guard position improve, giving them a punchers chance of defeating either the Lakers or the Thunder. Defeating both may be too much to ask for but it’s not completely implausible as Smith makes it seem.

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Hat-tip to Jeff Garcia of Project Spurs.

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Tags: Dwight Howard Los Angeles Lakers Oklahoma City Thunder San Antonio Spurs Skip Bayless Stephen A. Smith

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