All week long, our staff writers have chimed in on a series of topics, rumors and storylines leading up to the start of the season. In the final edition of State of the Nation this week, they wonder if this Lakers team has it in them to make any noise in the postseason.
As currently constructed, how far can the Lakers go in the playoffs?
Alex Lambeth // @AlexLambeth:
Again, the Lakers’ success this season remains contingent upon their ability to stay healthy and Kobe’s return. Even in the stacked Western Conference, the Lakers can be a competitive force. But as a potential 6-8 seed, they will have trouble matching up with the top tier teams in the West.
Jon Gaffer // @jewelslamo:
IF they make the playoffs, it’s one round and see ya’ later.
Mark Awad // @MarkeyTheBoss_:
The Lakers will go as far as Kobe, Nash and especially Pau take them. I’m expecting Kobe to be healthy come playoff time, and by then, Nash will be orchestrating the offense. It’ll be up to Gasol to find an identity in the paint. When we talk about facing bigs like Dwight, Duncan, Randolph and Griffin, Pau will have his work cut out for him.
Robert Benitez // @beeb0:
I don’t see the Lakers getting higher than 7th place, which puts them against the 2 seed who will probably be Oklahoma City, the Clippers, or even the Spurs again. If any of those scenarios come true, they’re a first round exit team.
Ashkan Kargaran // @aakargaran
If the Lakers were to sneak into the playoffs, they will be bounced out in the first round. This team, as currently constructed, is too good to be a lottery team and not good enough to be a contender. This is the worst position to be in as an NBA franchise, especially when the upcoming draft is loaded with talent.
Bummi Anderson // @BummiNAnderson
The Lakers have too many pieces to miss the playoffs entirely. However, I can’t see them climbing the ladder in the Western Conference, so look for them to finish around the 7th seed and most likely lose in the first round.
Melvin Taylor // @MelvinTaylorII:
2nd round. The first round might be tough, but it is possible. The second round will be a true test, and one that may be too much for this current team to pass.
Oren Levy // @LakersOren:
They can make the WCF if everything breaks right. The West is tough at the top this year, with San Antonio, OKC, LAC, and the Rockets looking good. However, each of those contenders has flaws. Westrbook is hurt, starting the Thunder at a disadvantage, and the Spurs are one year older, coming off a devastating Finals loss. The Clippers have no clear best five to close out games, and the Rockets have yet to play a game together. There is no obvious favorite out West, which leaves the door open for this run-and-gun group to go far – if they can come together just right.
Garrett Garcia // @GarrettGarcia:
The Lakers will likely find themselves ousted in the first round again, but they’re not likely to get swept again. The West is far too formidable for L.A. to make many moves in the playoffs.
Anna Gonda // @AnnaLBG:
Without considering their health, or the health of the teams around them, as they are currently constructed, the Lakers could make it to the second round.