Ranking 4 potential Lakers Play-In opponents by threat level

Taking a look at which Play-In teams would be the smallest and biggest threats to the Lakers.

Max Christie, Bradley Beal
Max Christie, Bradley Beal / Harry How/GettyImages
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More threatening: Golden State Warriors

Here is where things get interesting. The Lakers and Warriors have been neck-and-neck in the standings for weeks upon weeks, with no sign of either gaining distance from the other in sight. It is as if the two are determined to setup a rematch of last year's Western Conference Semifinals.

Last year, the Lakers earned the matchup with four-time champion Stephen Curry and his Warriors after upsetting the shorthanded Grizzlies in the first round. The result was a series that was not as close as it appeared, with LA taking big time advantage of Golden State's lack of size to win the series in six.

It was the latest iteration of a rivalry that has existed since LeBron James first arrived in Los Angeles. Of course, Steph and LeBron have been battling it out in the playoffs ever since the Warriors and Cavaliers made it an annual tradition to play each other in the Finals from 2015 to 2018.

If these two teams met again, the Lakers could take a bit of comfort in their still-present size advantage over what was at one point this season the smallest average roster height-wise in the NBA. But it is the history between James and Curry that makes this matchup scary for LA.

Steph will no doubt be out for revenge after last year's playoff loss. Anything can happen in a single-game elimination tournament, and the reality where Curry torches the Lakers to eliminate their playoff hopes would sting for a long time.