Last week, NBA commissioner Adam Silver reportedly proposed four return-to-play formats to team owners, including a 20-22 team play-in tournament, and a World Cup style group stage in the first round. On Thursday, June 4, the league’s board of governors is expected to vote on one of Silver’s proposed formats, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, and at that time, we’ll have a better idea of who the Los Angeles Lakers will play in the first round of the playoffs.
If the NBA decides to leave the existing playoff format alone, the Lakers will play the No. 8 seed Memphis Grizzlies in the first round. However, if the NBA chooses to go forward with a play-in tournament for the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference, they could play a star-studded team like the Portland Trail Blazers or New Orleans Pelicans instead.
Whatever the case ends up being, Alex Caruso is confident his team will be able to pull through. In an interview with Zach Lowe on an episode of “The Lowe Post,” Caruso said it doesn’t matter who’s in the way of the Lakers’ pursuit of a championship, because they’re just going to go through them:
You really don’t care, you just want to play?
“I mean at the end of the day that’s really what it boils down to. That might be naive of me, that might be overconfident, but I just feel like we’ll be ready and I feel like we can play with anybody, so it doesn’t really matter who we play.”
Chills, literal chills.
Now, did anyone expect Caruso to say anything less? Of course not. I mean, was he really going to say, “Aw, man, I don’t know. Dame gave up 48, 10 and 9 the last time we saw the Blazers, and they didn’t even have Nurk or Collins. It’s going to be tough”? No.
The reason this resonates is because the Lakers have shown they can compete with anyone in the NBA when their stars — LeBron James and Anthony Davis — are playing big minutes at full speed. If I had choice between a team with James and Davis and a team that didn’t have James or Davis, I’d choose the former every time.
Add Caruso to that mix, and it’s easy money.