Topic: We wonder what chances the fans give the Los Angeles Lakers to make the playoffs this season.
Context: For only the second time in the history of the Lakers franchise, the team failed to miss the playoffs in consecutive seasons. Jim Buss has put the pressure on himself to get the Lakers back in contention quickly, and President Jeanie Buss has insisted that she will hold him to his self-imposed timetable.
Kobe Bryant is entering his 20th and possibly final season and has said that the Lakers can make the playoffs. The Lakers would surely like to send him off with a playoff run as opposed to another lottery season. The Lakers brought in some veterans as well as some rookies who should improve the team, but in a Western Conference that has never been more competitive, it may not be enough.
The Lakers have an intriguing combination of youth and experience. The young core is led by Jordan Clarkson, D’Angelo Russell and Julius Randle, but also includes Tarik Black, Jabari Brown, Anthony Brown, and Larry Nance Jr. Then there are the proven veterans such as Roy Hibbert, Lou Williams, Nick Young, Brandon Bass, and of course Kobe Bryant.
The roster as a whole is improved, but that may not translate into a significant increase in wins thanks to playing in the West. The top six teams in the West seem pretty set barring injury as Golden State, San Antonio, Oklahoma City, Memphis, Houston, and the Clippers should all be playoff teams. That leaves two spots left for the remaining teams.
New Orleans should be better after making the playoffs last year, Phoenix has been knocking at the door for two seasons, Utah was one of the best teams in the league down the stretch of last season, and Dallas should still be formidable as well.
Needless to say there will be plenty of competition for the Lakers to make a run and it will not be easy in any way. But what chances would you give them?
Verdict: We went to Twitter to ask the Lakers Nation followers what odds they would give the Lakers to make the playoffs this season. These are some of the responses:
— Doug Stamper (@nokiid) August 9, 2015
— B1g_Mamba (@ThisIsB1gMamba) August 8, 2015
— Shakim Gregory (@CGDaBOSS) August 8, 2015
— RanSanity (@ranbud1970) August 8, 2015
#LNDebate healthy Kobe 75% chance we have the talent just gotta stay away from injuries
— DON CHIVO (@Cj_eze67) August 8, 2015
— John Small (@nowayfarout) August 8, 2015
— Daniel Abaraoha (@dabaraoha) August 8, 2015
The fans have spoken and while many have high hopes that the team will make the playoffs, more feel like the Lakers will struggle to make the top-8 in the West. I’d have to agree with the fans on this one as I don’t think the Lakers can improve that much.
It really comes down to the depth of the West. Those second-tier teams like Phoenix, Utah, and New Orleans are better than the Lakers, at least coming into the season. Making the playoffs requires at least 45 wins and possibly more. That kind of jump just doesn’t happen often.
In my opinion, the Lakers should hope for a run similar to the Jazz of last season who was one of the NBA’s best teams over the last 30 games of the season and wound up winning 38 games after a slow start. If the Lakers can mirror that, they should set themselves up for a return to contention in 2016.[divide]