We’re talking about playoff basketball? With the Los Angeles Lakers? In 2017? It’s a hard concept to get behind, especially when the Lakers are losing close games like the one Monday night against their cross-stadium rivals, the LA Clippers.
However, Larry Nance Jr. believes the Lakers have a real shot at clinching their first playoff berth in nearly five years, despite being a young team.
“Absolutely. It’s something I keep track of, for sure,” Nance said following Tuesday’s practice. “That’s something I’d love for this team — I think everybody here would love for this team and I think it’s very realistic, especially with how things are shaping up right now.
“After a rough last game, it’s easy to be upset about it, but the second we’re like ‘Alright, there’s a bigger plan here. We’ve got to focus on that eighth seed, we can still get it,’ it kind of brings you back down to earth, refocuses you a little bit,” Nance continued.
With a win on Monday, the Lakers would have been in a two-way tie with Utah Jazz for the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference, but after letting the game slip away from them late in the fourth quarter, they’re two games back from being in the playoff picture.
However, a brutal schedule in the month of December where they’ll see the Houston Rockets and the Golden State Warriors twice, not to mention the Cleveland Cavaliers and Minnesota Timberwolves, could have the Lakers’ playoff hopes slipping away from them sooner rather than later.
But if the Lakers can survive a rough December, floating around .500 by the start of the new year, it wouldn’t be surprising to see us re-visiting this topic in January.
All quotes courtesy of Lakers.com.