Following their recent additions at the February 9 trade deadline, the Los Angeles Lakers are looking to build chemistry on the fly as they attempt to climb the Western Conference rankings in a bid to earn postseason qualification.
Of course, the further up the rankings the Lakers climb, the easier their route to the later rounds will be. However, according to former Lakers fan favorite Nick Young, the Lakers are capable of beating anyone in a seven-game series – even the top-ranked Denver Nuggets.
“If Denver play lakers first round they losing,” Young Tweeted on February 25.
In fairness, there is a legitimate chance the Lakers and Nuggets could do battle in the first round of the playoffs. Assuming the Lakers end the regular season as the eighth seed and make their way through the play-in tournament, they would then be pitted against Nikola Jokic and the Nuggets in what would potentially be the best match-up in the early stages of the postseason.
Kendrick Perkins Has Faith in Lakers Playoff Chances
When speaking on a February 23 episode of the NBA Today, former NBA champion Kendrick Perkins shared his belief that the new-look Lakers should be taken seriously and are a dangerous proposition for any team in the Western Conference.
“This team right here, with the way that D’Angelo Russell has been playing since January, even when he was with the Minnesota Timberwolves. The addition of Jared Vanderbilt. They have everything and more. In my opinion, the only thing in question is the health of Anthony Davis. But, when it comes down to the Western Conference, it’s a few teams that don’t wanna see this Laker team…This team will be dangerous, they will be the most dangerous 8th seed in NBA history, in my opinion,” Perkins said.
Of course, as has been the case with the Lakers over the past two seasons, their health will play a significant role in their immediate chances of success. With both LeBron James and Anthony Davis healthy, Los Angeles’ roster looks capable of making a deep post-season run, but without either of their two stars, it could be an early exit for the purple and gold.
LeBron James ‘Ready To Embrace’ Kyrie Irving Trade
According to ESPN’S Brian Windhorst, LeBron could be ready to embrace a summer trade for Kyrie Irving, especially if the Lakers fall short in their quest for a championship this season.
“Nobody, and I mean nobody, starts free agency in February like LeBron James, usually at All-Star Weekend…Certainly, the Mavericks have high hopes for what they’re able to accomplish with Kyrie over the next few months. But, he is on the record as saying, ‘don’t even ask me about my future,’” Windhorst said, “And that is because he wants to leave that Lakers’ lane open, and LeBron is very clearly, ready to embrace him…He knows that Kyrie, a player that he has won a championship with, might be as good as he can get. Right now, this is just a flirtation of convenience for both of them, but it is absolutely a peak at what these guys might have planned in the back of their minds.”