Jessie Coffield: Anthony Davis is going to be out for at least a month with a foot injury, Russell Westbrook is continuously riding the bench and LeBron is doing everything he can, averaging a career-high 29 points per game. But this team is in danger of missing the playoffs, and you can bet on that right now on the DK Sportsbook at -135 to miss +105 to make it; which one would you bet on right now, Garion?
Garion Thorne: I’m going to bet on them to make it. It’s simply because the Lakers are going to get to the play-in. They’re on an island right now, they’re six games back in the sixth seed but they’ve got a pretty comfy cushion on the 10th seed considering the team currently in the 10th spot doesn’t want to be there and told their best player yesterday, “Hey, you’re hurt, trust us, you’re hurt. So, they’re probably going to end up having like the two one-game playoffs. The first one’s going to be against Sacramento and the second one, yeah, maybe it’s against like Minnesota who’s frisky. Perhaps it is against the Clippers who have got one of their two-star players back, but at the end of the day, if you’re telling me one side has Lebron James and a healthy Anthony Davis by that point, I’m just going to take that team in a one-game playoff regardless of where that game is taking place, so I think they end up making the playoffs. They don’t make much noise once they get into it, but they do win the play-in.
Jessie Coffield: Nick, which side are you on?
Nick Whalen: I’m out on this Lakers team. I can’t do it anymore. I don’t think they make it. Who knows which of the big three is even going to be available at that point. Anthony Davis is basically 50-50 to make it through any game that he starts at this point. I don’t see some sort of miraculous turnaround chemistry-wise happening over these last 24 games. You know by that point the Clippers will likely have Paul George back; maybe they would have Kawhi Leonard back so if that’s the case and that’s the matchup to get in, I think the Clippers win that and even Minnesota. Right now, you look at that Minnesota roster top to bottom yeah, the Lakers maybe have the two best players when Davis and LeBron are healthy in that series, but Minnesota are much deeper. One thing that I think has flown under the radar with the Lakers is not only has Davis been injured, Westbrook has struggled, but pretty much every single role player for them has been terrible. Other teams are just so much deeper when you look at the three through 10 positions, so maybe LeBron and Davis could carry the Lakers in a one-game playoff, but man, right now it’s tough to put faith in this team, so I’ll say they miss.
Jessie Coffield: Matt, in or out on the Lakers?
Matt Meiselman: Oh yeah, I mean, you have to know at this point I’m going out on the Lakers. Still, this has been my favorite question to answer for basically the entire season. I think it’s just too narrow of a path for them to get in, they need everything to go right, they need to win, most likely two play-in games in a row. The first of the two may be against an inferior opponent like the Pelicans, or the Spurs, or the Kings, or maybe the Blazers. But they have to win two of those and the second one is likely Minnesota or the Clippers with Paul George. Both of those are better teams than the healthy Lakers, but then the other concern is Anthony Davis is hurt; LeBron James has been dealing with injuries all season. The idea that we can guarantee that both of them will be healthy at that point just seems crazy to me. It may even be more likely than not that one of them is still out at that point and also with how many more minutes and how much more usage LeBron will have while Davis is out. If there’s something that can increase LeBron’s injury risk in the near future, it does not have Anthony Davis there to take off some of that burden. If LeBron sees Russell Westbrook start to take on more of the offense and do poorly, LeBron’s just not going to give him the ball as much and try to do more himself. Yeah, the chances of LeBron and Davis staying healthy to me are nowhere near 100 percent for all of those reasons; something probably goes wrong for this team. I think even at -130, -135, whatever it is now, I still would bet them not to make the playoffs.
Garion’s Pick: Yes +105
Nick’s Pick: No -130
Matt’s Pick: No -130
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