Los Angeles Lakers: Ideal western conference playoff seeding

Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images /
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Los Angeles Lakers
Photo by Timothy Nwachukwu/Getty Images /

No.6 Houston Rockets vs. No.3 Denver Nuggets

Remember, this is meant to be the Lakers’ easiest path to the Finals while also keeping things realistic. With that being said, the Rockets are only two games ahead of the sixth-seeded Thunder at the time of writing this and are fresh off a loss to the 19-42 New York Knicks.

In order for this to happen, the Mavericks would need to get hot down the stretch of the season and prove a lot of doubters wrong, but it’s possible. According to ESPN, Dallas currently owns the NBA’s best offensive efficiency and a top-4 Effective Field Goal Percentage. Combine that with a Luka Doncic who was once in the MVP race and a seemingly healthy Kristaps Porzingis and they could be a big problem.

This would also have the potential to be one of the most exciting Round 1 matchups we’ve seen in a long time as PJ Tucker and the small-ball Rockets try to match up with basically a 7-foot point guard in Nikola Jokic.

Not only is this a clash of the titans in the sense that each squad will have their own gladiators to roll out, but it’s also a conflict between two opposing styles of play. Per Team Rankings, the Rockets attempt the most 3-pointers in the league by a mile with 44.6 per game while the Nuggets are a bottom-five team at only 30.3 attempts.

The Nuggets like to feed the post though, which is why they’re a top-5 team when it comes to points in the paint, dropping 49.7 per game while the Rockets sit inside the bottom-10 with 46.7.

Just watching these two teams battle it out to see whose styles and methods will prevail would be a treat to all NBA fans.

Plus, this would leave the Clippers playing either of these two teams–both of which FiveThiryEight ranks in the top-7 of their “Full-Strength Rating”–in the second round.