Welcome to SB Nation Reacts, a survey of fans across the NBA. Throughout the year we ask questions of the most plugged-in Los Angeles Lakers fans and fans across the country.
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The Lakers are a wild ride this season, particularly in recent games. While they have struggled with consistency, they’ve made up for it with wildly exciting games, for better and for worse.
But good teams and playoff teams often play boring games, because they take care of business. And the Lakers, as constructed, do not routinely take care of business nor do they play boring games. It’s not an exclusive qualifier, but it’s one of many that raises some questions about whether they’re a team that can make the postseason.
In our latest SB Nation Reacts survey, we asked readers what the ceiling of this Lakers team was and the response is perhaps a little surprising and perhaps telling.
That means 43% of those that responded don’t think this team will officially make the playoffs, though obviously they could play their way into it through the play-in game.
In the interest of fairness, a number of things have happened since this trade. The Lakers knocked off the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference on Friday, had a historic comeback on Sunday and completed a trade for Rui Hachimura on Monday.
Most hilariously, Grizzlies fans were asked before Friday’s game who they would most like to see in a first round series and had an interesting choice of their own.
However, nothing that happened over the weekend are drastic moves that will likely play major roles in impacting the Lakers outlook moving forward. Trading for Hachimura could be a low-risk, high-reward deal but it doesn’t feel like one that vaults them into being a lock for the playoffs, for example. And this team has beaten really good teams before and followed it up with bad losses.
Still, the nature of the Western Conference this year without any clear great teams and so many teams bunched together this season was the reason for most of the optimism from those that provided their reasons in the comments of the survey post.
The high variance in answers, from the most popular vote to the reasoning given by commenters, is perhaps the best example of how wide open this Western Conference feels and how hard it is to put a finger on how good this Lakers team is and can be.
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