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Lakers Newsletter: Who the Lakers do and don’t want to face in the playoffs

Hi everyone, I’m dan woike, and welcome back to the Lakers newsletter, an opportunity for me to speak directly to you, dear reader, through the same medium that various men’s outlet stores speak to me. Unfortunately, I can’t get you 40% off chino pants.

However, I can offer you a slice of Lakers optimism and a look ahead of what could be a very interesting postseason (if the Lakers get there).

wild, wild, wild west

I was a guest on Spectrum SportsNet on Wednesday night and was asked before the show which team in the West was moving in the right direction.

Obviously, I responded with Phoenix.

They also asked me which team was moving in the wrong direction,

Obviously, I responded with the Clippers.

By the time I went to bed on Wednesday night, I think I would have changed both answers.

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That has been the story in the Western Conference this past month. If you sleep well at night, you miss things that completely change.

So I thought, for story’s sake more than anything, let’s take a look at the West and see which teams I think would be scariest for the Lakers if they made the postseason.

No disrespect but…

utah jazz

Yes, the Lakers have already lost twice to the Jazz this season in their only meetings. And yes, Utah has been one of the best stories in the league this year with a brilliant head coach at Will Hardy and a lot of offensive blow with Lauri Markkanen and jordan clarkson.

But the Lakers helped storm the Jazz at the trade deadline, and in must-win situations, there isn’t a good team the Lakers see that should scare them less.

oklahoma city thunder

The thing about the playoffs, and especially the gate games, is you want to make sure you have the best player on the court.

Good, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander it’s good enough to make you think twice about that question.

The Thunder are tough, they play for each other and they are completely free of pressure and that makes them dangerous. But on this list, that’s not enough to keep anyone from losing sleep.

Portland Trail Blazers

When you have a player who can score 70 points on a given night, it’s scary enough. but out of Damian LillardPortland’s injury problems and lack of depth mean they don’t have much to worry about outside of a Lillard heater.

It could happen and the Blazers crushed the Lakers after the deadline, but it still feels like a Lakers-leaning matchup.

new orleans pelicans

Yeah zion williamson was playing, New Orleans would be much higher on this list. It’s not playing yet, and no one seems to know when it will be. C.J. McCollum and Brandon Ingram they’re the kind of tough shooters who can beat even good defenses, but they’ve only won seven times since Jan. 13.

At one point, they were terrifying. Now, they are more of a hypothetical threat.

appropriate fear

sacramento kings

The beam team plays with tons of speed and skill, but it’s more than fair to wonder how they’ll handle the slower-paced postseason game.

The Kings definitely speed up the Lakers and the Kings have scored at least 120 in each of their meetings with them, but I think Sacramento’s lack of interior defense is the kind of thing the Lakers would exploit in a series.

minnesota timber wolves

When the Lakers played Minnesota last week, the Timberwolves physically dominated the game. They got the Lakers out of their offense, and when the team got into the paint, rudy goberto completely freaked them out.

Anthony Edwards could be one of the best two-way players in one season and Jaden McDaniels it can lock up whoever is assigned to it.

Still, there are big fit concerns when Karl-Anthony Towns it’s finally back on the pitch, the kind of thing you ideally wouldn’t notice in March.

memphis grizzlies

I’m going to keep this simple.

There is a lot of talent here, and more if ha morant rejoins the team.

But do you really trust them to make the right decisions, especially under postseason pressure?

OK this has me anxious

warriors of the golden state

So much experience in championships, two terrifying players in Stephen Curry and klay thompson and a defensive genius in dramond green and yet…

This team has had weird vibes all year, starting with a leaked video of a preseason hit in practice, and their struggles on the road have been downright weird.

Ignore the Warriors at your peril, but the Lakers have already beaten them three times this year and another deep Warriors run remains pretty speculative.

dallas mavericks

There is no player in the West who is scarier to watch in a playoff series than luka doncic.

Dallas received good news that his leg injury is not believed to be serious. His defense, chemistry and depth are all suspect, but Doncic is good enough to end a team’s season on his own.

I would really rather not

denver nuggets

No drama, possibly MVP and continuity: It seems like people have underestimated the threat Denver poses in the West and if they win, we’ll look at those reasons and say goodbye.

But the Lakers have had some success against Denver this season, and that was even before the Lakers rebuilt their team for the better.

Still, give me the team that has done it all year instead of the one that has done it for three weeks.


They have many problems to solve: how to handle them better russell westbrook being just one of them. But if they answer half your questions and order their rotation, they have an incredibly playoff-ready roster with experience, size, shooting and versatility.

The questions are huge; so is the advantage.

The way they defended against Toronto on Wednesday night was a huge step forward, and if they can get up to speed on that side of the court, they’ll be hard for anyone to beat.

nope nothing like that

phoenix suns

On the one hand, they gutted the depth of their wings to land Kevin Durant and just injured his ankle during pregame warmups.

On the other hand, he is the most ready-to-use star in the league, fitting perfectly into any situation due to his skill, versatility and little-discussed defense.

They have some depth issues, but if their Top 7 stays healthy, they’re the scariest team in the West.

Song of the week

A roller skating jam called ‘Saturdays’ by De La Soul

Let’s celebrate the De La Soul catalog finally being available by strapping on some skates and heading into the weekend. Because of the team we got home and untied, everything you just read about the West will probably have changed.

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