It's time to put on our realist thinking caps and decide who we're going to root for in the playoffs, since the Lakers are in full-blown tank mode.
So, if you're a Lakers fan most likely you have some attachment to the city of Los Angeles and therefore some affiliation to the Western Conference of the NBA. Teams 1-8 will be the western conference playoff bound franchises and 9-16 will be the Eastern Conference teams in order of their projected seedings.
Golden State Warriors
The Warriors are really good. Like, they have the potential to have one of the greatest regular season records of all time...Steph Curry is also really good. MVP good? Maybe. Living in greater Los Angeles, I've been seeing more and more Warriors fans around town, how convenient for you guys that when the Warriors are good, the Lakers happen to be terrible. I like Golden State for a number of reasons: Steve Kerr seems like a fun coach to play for, they shoot extremely well they're one of the best defensive teams this season, and they seem like one of the favorites to win the finals.
"Nobody kicks my ass better than I can," said Conor O'Neill, and the 2014-15 Los Angeles Lakers.
Not the Rockets. You experienced Dwight Howard in the purple and gold, but you still enjoy watching him play?! You better be from Houston or have a sound reason why you like this team. Although, I can understand why you would like James Harden. He won me over too a with this treasure:
Not a joke, that song is currently on my phone.
The Grizzlies roster and style of play has been manufactured for the playoffs, and they'll play with homecourt advantage for a majority of it. Memphis has been a fixture in the Western Conference the past few years and are on the cusp of breaking through the West and into the NBA Finals. Tough to bet against them and even tougher to root against Z-Bo.
Portland Trail Blazers
Portland has a strong, balanced team. LaMarcus Aldridge takes care of scoring down low, while Damian Lillard and friends take care of the long-range attack from beyond the arc. Injuries have thinned out their roster, but you can't count them out as long as Lillard is on the court. Just ask the Rockets why they don't want to play against Portland...
I feel like this might be the year for the Blazers, maybe they will slither their way into the championship without anyone seeing them coming. Almost like someone in the WWE...
Los Angeles Clippers
As a Lakers fan, you're better than this. But, by my own logic above, if you're an LA native then maybe the Clippers are the bandwagon choice for a Lakers fan? There are tons of these "loyal Clippers fans," in our world these days, but there is one easy way to weed out the bandwagoners: Ask a Clippers fan, who is the greatest play-by-play man?
San Antonio Spurs
You too are a fan of the Popovich regime? If you respect good, unselfish basketball and the ability to play the game the right way, then you're rooting for The Big Fundamental and possibly one of the final years of a dynasty.
Mark Cuban is one of the only owners acting just like the rest of us would if we owned a professional team. So rooting for the Mavericks makes sense, but I think the Mavericks failure in the playoffs leads towards the free agency of Rajon Rondo. Whether you can get over the Celtic stink on him, you know he would be a huge upgrade for the Lakers. Rondo is a polarizing player, but I think he and Kobe would get along surprisingly well.
Oklahoma City Thunder
Russell Westbrook has been on a tear this season, he's almost averaging a triple-double. You could say he makes the Thunder, DangeRUSS... LOL Get it?! The Thunder as an 8-seed is scary, I think that some teams at the top might try to pull some reverse playoff tanking trying to avoid playing the Thunder in the first round. Even without Kevin Durant, the Slim-Reaper, the Thunder is a team no one wants to play against in the playoffs.
New Orleans Pelicans
Okay I lied, I put nine teams.
I would absolutely love to see the Pellies and the Thunder both making it into the playoffs. Maybe if we can get Dallas out, we could see Anthony Davis and Westbrook play out of their minds while singlehandedly trying to win games for their teams. We deserve to see two of the best players in the league play in the playoffs. I feel like New Orleans should be so much better, but they have too many holes in their roster to be an elite team. If they played in the Eastern Conference, I think they would be a four or five seed this season.
Speaking of the devil! The HAWWWWWKS! Atlanta is one of the best teams in the league this year and they came out of nowhere. The Hawks are coached by a Popovich disciple/evangelist and they play a very similar style to the Spurs. Although they don't have the star power and deep experience the Spurs have they play a well-oiled brand of basketball that could get them far in the Eastern Conference.
Ugh! Are they really the second seed?! The Cavs are good. They are the favorite coming out of the Eastern Conference and the only teams that could potentially beat them in a seven game series are the Hawks (Hawks have the regular season edge 3-1) and LeBron's former team in South Beach. (Cavs and the Heat have tied in regular season matchups 2-2) A Cavs-Heat playoff series would be so much fun and there would be tons of storylines to follow. Especially how that Kevin Love guy ends his first -- and possibly only -- season in Cleveland.
DA BULLS. Chicago has sustained a high-level of play throughout the year even though they have suffered a ton of injuries. Lucky for them, Pau Gasol decided to start playing basketball again and they have a plethora of floor-spacing shooters: Mike Dunleavy, Nikola Mirotic, Tony Snell and Dougie McBuckets, my favorite nickname for Doug McDermott. Whoops, I almost forget to mention two of their best players: Derrick Rose and Jimmy Butler. Personally, I'm rooting for the Bulls to come out of the East.
The Drakes of Toronto have been one of the biggest surprises of the season. The Raptors have a strong record, but the team lacks playoff experience on the individual players and the team level. But, if you're a diehard Drake fan then this is probably the team for you. #Trophies
Plus, Masai Ujiri is one of the best general managers in the league. The story of his career path is remarkable and he pulled off the trade of the century before the season began. Plus, plus, Ujiri did this:
How much do you just hate Paul Pierce? He's down there with Dwight Howard for me. Remember this?
The Wizards might be able to deal some damage, but I don't see them getting past the Hawks, Bulls or Cavaliers. They have some great characters in their lineup though. Hard to root against the Polish Hammer, and I love John Wall. Remember his dance at Kentucky?
I'm rooting for the Bucks because this team is going to be good for the next decade. The young core of Michael Carter-Williams, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton, and John Henson should propel this team into one of the "elite" eastern conference teams of the future. Oh, and there's still the return of Jabari Parker next season? But for now, let's have fun rooting for the Bucks and trying to pronounce all their players names correctly, as hard as it may be. (Giannis Antetokounmpo, Ersan Ilyasova and Zaza Pachulia)
Miami Heat/Brooklyn Nets/Boston Celtics/Charlotte Hornets/Indiana Pacers
The Pacers are the only team out of the these teams that have even a slight chance at getting past the Hawks or the Cavs in the first round. Granted, that would be if Paul George continues progressing as he gets back on the floor and gets his team into the playoffs. I like the post-Lebron Heat and their playoff run has a couple Laker implications attached. One, Miami is one of the very few teams that have a legit chance to knock the Cavs out of the playoffs. Two, if they lose early in their playoff run, maybe Goran Dragic decides he doesn't like it there very much, opening up another potential free agent target for the Lakers to consider.