Los Angeles Lakers: Ideal western conference playoff seeding

Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images /
2 of 5
Los Angeles Lakers
Photo by Brandon Dill/Getty Images /

No. 8: Memphis Grizzlies

Out of the five teams jostling for this spot, the Memphis Grizzlies would be the Lakers easiest first-round opponent.

With the Spurs, it’s simple, they have Greg Popovich and there might not be a coach more equipped in the league to rain on LeBron James‘ parade.

Then there’s the Kings, who might actually seem like an easier matchup than the Grizzlies at first glance. However, when taking a deeper look into Sacramento’s recent play you’ll find that the Kings are 12-5 since January 24, which is the seventh-best record in the NBA during that span.

They’ve been playing some of their best basketball as of late and per NBA.com, the Kings rank top-12 in 3-pointers made, offensive efficiency, defensive efficiency and net rating since then mid-January.

That leaves us with the Grizzlies, Pelicans and Blazers. It’s pretty easy to see why the Grizz would be the way to go out of those three.

Sure, the Lakers have swept the season series against the Pelicans and they literally have no-one even semi-capable of guarding LeBron James, but the sheer amount of talent that they possess might allow them to come out on top of one or maybe even two games. When taking a closer look at the season series, the Lakers only won by a total of 27 points and two of the games were played without Zion Williamson.

Add a motivated Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram and Josh Hart to an absolute freak of nature in Williamson and the Lakers might actually be challenged.

Then there’s the Blazers, who really only have one reason to make the Lakers fearful: Damian Lillard.

He’s already proved that he’s not afraid to ruin a moment for the Lake Show and having to guard his high screen-and-rolls for an entire series isn’t quite something that would be considered “easy” for Frank Vogel and his team.

So we’re left with the Grizzlies, who have actually managed to beat the Lakers once. However, in the three games that the Lakers won, they did so by a combined 42 points and either James or Anthony Davis have managed to score 30 in each of them.

Combine that with the sheer lack of experience and the Lakers should easily be able to dispatch of  Memphis and Ja Morant in just four games, giving them a much-deserved rest heading into the second round.