Lakers Want 7th Seed To Avoid Warriors Early In Playoffs, Says Staffer

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LeBron James
LeBron James being guarded by Kevin Durant in their preseason matchup. (Stephen R. Sylvanie/USA Today Sports)

The Los Angeles Lakers do not want to compete with the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Playoffs, particularly in earlier rounds.

“We’re trying to get a seventh seed,” a high ranking Lakers staffer told me Friday in Charlotte, NC.

“We’ll be healthy in the second half.”

The Lakers have struggled at times during the first half of season mainly because LeBron James, Rajon Rondo and Lonzo Ball have all missed significant time due to injuries.

The Lakers have noticeably slipped down in the Western Conference standings since James got hurt on Christmas Day.

Appearing on the Scoop B Radio Podcast last month, FS1’s Jason McIntyre says he believes that the Los Angeles Lakers can still make it to the  2019 NBA Western Conference Finals with a healthy LeBron James.

Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson discussed state of the Lakers and more on 97.3 ESPN.

“If there’s any injury to [Steph] Curry or [Kevin] Durant, then the Lakers have a shot of beating them [the Golden State Warriors], McIntyre told me via Scoop B Radio. 

“The Thunder have a small shot, the Rockets have a small shot. But that’s with injuries – assuming everybody stays healthy? No I don’t think anybody from the West [beats them].”

On the health side of things: A source within the Lakers organization told me on January 11 that James could miss the entire month of January and possibly all of February.

James did return on January 31st against the Los Angeles Clippers and played in Sunday’s NBA All Star Game in Charlotte, NC.

Reports via The Athletic’s Joe Vardon suggests, however that James is not playing at 100%.

Per Vardon: The Lakers are concerned that LeBron might not be “fully recovered” from his groin injury. They feel LBJ hasn’t been showing his typical speed and movement out on the floor.

ESPN suggested last month that James would rather take his time to fully recover than be forced back.
The Lakers still have the best player in the world and McIntyre told the Scoop B Radio Podcast that he liked the Lakers’ chances in the NBA Playoffs.
 “I think as long as the Lakers get the second or third seed, they’ll be in the Western Conference Finals,” McIntyre he told Scoop B Radio.

“Actually as long as they don’t play the Warriors until the Conference Finals, I think LeBron will get them there and I think LeBron knows it.”

The Los Angeles Lakers made a splash this summer when they signed top free agent, LeBron James.

The Golden State Warriors shocked the basketball world this summer when they signed Cousins. “They got the best player in the world,” Cousins told me of James this summer.  

Here’s the million dollar question: Can the Laker beat the Warriors?

“They’ve got a chance,” Cousins told me.

“We’ll see what happens when the ball goes up.”

The Los Angeles Lakers resume play tomorrow when they take on the Houston Rockets at Staples Center.

 

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