4 Teams that are worse than the Lakers despite their records

The Lakers are better than these teams no matter what their records say.

Los Angeles Lakers, LeBron James
Los Angeles Lakers, LeBron James / Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
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The Los Angeles Lakers are in the middle of a disappointing season. They reached the conference finals in 2023 and brought back virtually the same roster, but are fighting for a spot in the Play-In Tournament. The Lakers are currently ninth and would have to face the Golden State Warriors with the winner in a win-or-go-home contest for the eighth seed. LeBron James remains elite and in the running for GOAT, but several factors have led to LA lagging in the standings.

The Western Conference is loaded with talent. There will be zero easy first-round playoff matchups. It could be the Nuggets versus the Lakers in the opening series. Neither team wants that showdown, but such is life when the team ninth in the standings is five games over .500.

The Lakers are better than their record. It is Injuries, coaching woes, and poor play that has them on the verge of missing the playoffs. Los Angeles is better than several teams above them in the standings, including these four who are currently in the top eight in the Western Conference.

4. New Orleans Pelicans

The Pelicans have been one of the surprise teams in the conference. Coming into this season, the Lakers were ranked fifth in ESPN's NBA projections, and the Pelicans were 16th. New Orleans missed the playoffs last season and has significant injury concerns even if their roster has been healthy so far.

Credit to the Pelicans for climbing to fifth in the West. They are in the top ten in both offensive and defensive rating this season, but New Orleans has missed the playoffs in five of the last six years.

If the two sides face off in the postseason, it is advantage Lakers. LeBron James and company have won two of the three meetings this season and have a massive experience advantage. LA can use its size to make things tough on the Pelicans, and New Orleans does not have the shooting to make the Lakers pay.

The stats may point to the Pelicans being better so far this season, but the Los Angeles Lakers are the bigger playoff threat. Few remember where teams finish in the regular season. It is all about how they perform when the lights are brightest in the postseason.