Rick Sund picked the Lakers and the Magic to reach the NBA finals before the season began, and the Hawks’ GM is proud of himself. He’s so proud he reminded me, not altogether ungraciously, “You liked Cleveland over Orlando.” And I did. (I love everything about the city of Cleveland, as we know. But I digress.)
I called Sund, who was in Minneapolis at an NBA draft showcase doing his due diligence, because I wanted to know which team he likes now. (I’ve already made my pick.) And he said the Lakers, so I’m hoping he’s wrong.
And so is he. “I’d love to see Orlando win,” Sund said. “I’m rooting for the Eastern Conference. And you always like to have games against the NBA champion [to publicize and market].”
And there’s something else: Sund’s theory, often delineated in this space, is that a team can win the NBA title with two superstars (as was the case with Shaq and Kobe in L.A., or Shaq and D-Wade in Miami) or by having at least three players in the top 10 at their respective positions. (Detroit of 2003-2004 is his model, but the Spurs of Duncan, Parker and Ginobli also qualify.)
Sund: “Orlando’s got one superstar [Dwight Howard], and then they’ve got some guys in that 8, 9, 10, 11 range. That gives us up hope. That’s what we have to do.”
His heart says Orlando. His head does not. And then there’s the matter of consistency. “I already picked the Lakers,” Sund said. “I’ve got to stick with it. I’m on record.”