Will The Lakers Be In The Play-In Tournament?

This season in the NBA is significantly different than any before it in more ways than one. First, the season has been shortened to 72 games instead of the usual 82. The shortened season has led to an uptick in injuries as well as stranger travel days for teams. Perhaps the biggest difference, however, is the implementation of the Play-In tournament. Seeds 7-10 in each conference will face off in a tournament to decide the final seeds of the NBA playoffs in each conference.

The reigning champs from the 2020 season find themselves in jeopardy of holding a spot in the Play-In tournament. The Los Angeles Lakers are currently sitting in 6th place in the Western Conference with a record of 37-28. While this record is above .500, it is significantly lower than what NBA fans are used to seeing, especially from a team headlined by Lebron James and Anthony Davis. James has been vocal in his disapproval of the Play-In tournament recently, but many believe this may be because his team is so close to finding themselves in it as he had been supportive of it previously. The injury bug has plagued LA with both Lebron and Davis missing the majority of the second half of the season.

With the Lakers in the 6th seed, let’s take a look at what it would take for them to make a move in the standings. Here is the Western Conference standings as of May 6th, 2021:

  1. Utah Jazz
  2. Phoenix Suns
  3. Denver Nuggets
  4. Los Angeles Clippers
  5. Dallas Mavericks
  6. Los Angeles Lakers
  7. Portland Trail Blazers
  8. Memphis Grizzlies
  9. Golden State Warriors
  10. San Antonio Spurs
  11. New Orleans Pelicans
  12. Sacramento Kings
  13. Oklahoma City Thunder
  14. Minnesota Timberwolves
  15. Houston Rockets

The Trail Blazers currently sit only half a game behind the Lakers with a record of 37-29. If the Trail Blazers are able to pass the Lakers, Lebron and AD may need to lead their team to the playoffs in a crunch-time Play-In tournament against some surging teams in the West. LA also shares the same record as the Mavericks in the 5th seed, so just as easily as the Lakers could slip, they could also bump up a spot or two.