While the Los Angeles Lakers remain in a battle to make the NBA Playoffs, their G League affiliate the South Bay Lakers are set to begin their own playoff journey. Led by the Lakers’ two-way players Scotty Pippen Jr. and Cole Swider and perhaps rookie Max Christie, South Bay will host the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, an affiliate of the Houston Rockets, on Wednesday in the first round of the G League Playoffs.
The South Bay Lakers finished their season 21-11, good for third in the Western Conference and the right to host this playoff contest. The G League Playoffs are much different than the NBA, however, as it is a one-game, win-or-go-home series for the first two rounds, meaning South Bay’s playoff run could be a short one if they aren’t locked in.
But South Bay looks ready to go on Wednesday as the team dropped a hype video on their Twitter page ahead of their first round contest:
All of our work, sacrifice, and resilience has led us to this moment. The stage is set. We'll see you Wednesday!#SBLakers x #NBAGLeaguePlayoffs pic.twitter.com/NP0P15wfvA
— South Bay Lakers (@SouthBayLakers) March 27, 2023
Pippen and Swider are the two leading scorers for South Bay with the former’s work even leading him to be a part of the 2023 Rising Stars Challenge during All-Star Weekend. The point guard is averaging 21.4 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 1.6 steals while Swider is putting up 17.1 points and 4.8 rebounds while knocking down 43.6% from 3-point range.
A couple of Lakers’ Summer League players in guard Javante McCoy and big man Fabian White Jr. have also played big roles in South Bay, as has guard Shaquille Harrison, who leads the team in assists and steals. Lakers second-round pick Christie has also spent time in South Bay, though it is unclear whether he will be sent back down with the Lakers playing in Chicago on Wednesday night.
Rio Grande Valley will provide a tough challenge for South Bay as they have been recently led by Rockets 2022 first-round pick TyTy Washington Jr. while also boasting a couple of former top-10 selections in wing Jarrett Culver and center Willie Cauley-Stein.
Draymond Green believes Lakers are ‘serious threat’ if they make the playoffs
When it comes to the Los Angeles Lakers themselves, their playoff fate is still up in the air as they battle it out over the last two weeks to ensure they find themselves in the postseason. And if they get there, one rival star believes they will be a problem.
Golden State Warriors star Draymond Green called the Lakers a ‘serious threat’ in the West should they make the postseason. And if they are able to get healthy and come together, it is hard to disagree with Green’s assessment.
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