Here’s Why the Lakers Might Make the Playoffs Next Year

What?

We’re still kicking off the off-season, you say?

It’s WAYYY too soon to tell, you say?

Hear. Me. Out.

First of all, look at where the western conference teams finished at the end of last season.

Based on what we know now — barring the free agents that have yet to be signed — which teams are your picks for next year’s playoffs?

Here are my top six:

  1. Warriors
  2. Spurs
  3. Rockets — The James Harden-Chris Paul pairing could be deadly.
  4. Pelicans — Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins are going to plow through everyone to get to this No. 4 spot. I just know it.
  5. Timberwolves — Karl-Anthony Towns together with Andrew Wiggins AND Jimmy Butler AND Jamal Crawford??? I MAY be placing them too low.
  6. Thunder — Russell Westbrook with the help of Paul George for one year should keep the team firmly at No. 6.
  7. ???
  8. ???

Now, who do you have in the final two spots?

  • Clippers —The team took a hit with the loss of Chris Paul. Regardless, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan, plus sixth man Lou Williams, are all solid players that could keep the team in playoff contention.
  • Grizzlies — This team, too, suffered a big loss with their emblematic players, Zach Randolph, Vince Carter, and soon, Tony Allen heading for greener pastures. In their place, the team has signed Tyreke Evans and Ben McLemore who just don’t match Randolph, Carter, and Allen’s value. It’s unlikely the Grizzlies make the playoffs next year.
  • Jazz — With the headline departure of Gordon Hayward as well as George Hill, the team did pick up Ricky Rubio. So, all hope is not lost, just abundantly diminished. Rubio could potentially mesh well with Rudy Gobert, and the two could lead the team to playoff spot. Who knows?
  • Kings — The addition of Zach Randolph, reportedly Vince Carter, and George Hill is a huge win for the team and its three new draft picks who could benefit from the veterans’ mentorship in the long-term. This souped-up rebuild could very well make them playoff contenders.
  • Lakers —The trade for Brook Lopez to bring him on as a veteran mentor was a good move for the team. Lonzo Ball, the second-overall 2017 draft pick and rising leader was also a good move for the team. These two, in addition to a roster filled with previous years’ first-round draft picks could also make the team a playoff contender.
  • Mavericks — Not many big changes to the roster here yet. They didn’t make the playoffs last season, doesn’t look like they’ll make the playoffs this season.
  • Nuggets—The signing of Nikola Jokic and Paul Millsap will make the team a force to be reckoned with next season. This, in addition to the team’s current players Gary Harris and Jamal Murray. Don’t count this team out of the playoffs just yet.
  • Suns — Other than the addition of the fifth-overall 2017 draft pick Josh Jackson to the team, it doesn’t look like Devin Booker and Tyson Chandler will be getting much more help this season. It’s unlikely the Suns make the playoffs next year.
  • Trail Blazers — As other teams build upon their rosters, this team must face the decisions of years past or find a way to dump salaries and gain more cap space. They, too, are unlikely to make the playoffs next year.

Now don’t tell me you didn’t have something remotely similar.

And given the addition of Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka to the front office to guide the franchise, I think the team can surely improve upon last season’s record enough to get them into the playoffs. Realistically, I see them having a hard time against the Clippers, Jazz, Kings, and the Nuggets. Despite that, this team’s young roster, talent, versatility, room for growth, and championship-winning mentors could certainly drive the team to the top eight.