Gold Star Member
- May 6, 2015
- Reaction score
I think the Lakers would struggle mightily defensively against the Rockets. I could see Westbrook really having an all-time type series.
However, I stand firm that the Nuggets are being slept on a criminal amount. They've won 67% of their games in the last two years. They have a legit superstar in Jokic and some big-time players in that supporting cast.
They've dealt with a significant amount of injuries to rotation players, but just keep plugging along and winning games.
The Lakers have a top 5 defense for a reason. They have very good defensive guards. And they have elite rim protection. For every game a guard does well in against them, there are two other games in which the Lakers completely shut them down. So teams that rely heavily on guards (Houston, Denver, Dallas, Memphis, etc.) are going to have a tough series against the Lakers, especially in the playoffs when the Lakers will watch film and scheme against them. Houston though always has a puncher's chance thanks to their three point shooting as a team. Of course, the Lakers defense has a glaring weakness. They have nobody to guard big wings. Like Kyle Kuzma is probably their best non-AD/LeBron guy to throw at the Giannis, Kawhi, and Tatum types. It's such an Achilles heel that I would pick the Clippers and the Bucks over the Lakers, despite the Lakers having two of the five or so best players in the world.
As for Denver in particular, my fear for them is that their point differential - one of the best indications of a team's strength - is lower than any of the other top teams in the West. Denver's altitude advantage is always lessened in the playoffs as well when teams have time to acclimate to Denver. Not to mention that just last year in the playoffs they looked shaky against a pretty mediocre Spurs team before losing to a Portland team running on fumes. Jokic is no doubt an absolute beast. And his pick and roll chemistry with Murray is remnant of Stockton-Malone at times. But when it comes down to it in playoff crunch time against an elite defense, it's hard for me to believe that Jokic/Murray will generate better offense than LeBron/AD or Kawhi/PG.