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Jerry West says Lakers would ‘have a chance against anyone’ in the playoffs

Mar 21, 2013, 10:08 PM EDT

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Statue Unveiling At STAPLES Center Getty Images

Now that the Lakers making the playoffs seems much more like an eventuality than a faint possibility, it’s only natural that the pundits will begin lining up to assess the team’s chances once the postseason begins.

Jerry West was first in line apparently, and said that he believes the Lakers would be a dangerous playoff opponent — despite the team’s low seed, which in turn would mean a matchup against a team that’s been elite all season long.

From Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times:

“I definitely wouldn’t want to play them, I know that,” West said. “I think they’d have a chance against anyone.”

A Hall of Fame player with the Lakers and now an executive with the Golden State Warriors, West mentioned two teams the Lakers wouldn’t want to face. The Oklahoma City Thunder and San Antonio Spurs were not among them.

The Lakers find themselves in the postseason picture due to a marked overall improvement since the All-Star break, but also thanks to a Utah Jazz team that can’t seem to stop losing. L.A.’s injury issues have prevented them from coming together fully, as we witnessed during a blowout loss to the Suns in Phoenix on Monday.

The team is expected to get healthy in a hurry, with both Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol likely to return to the lineup on Friday against the Wizards.

The Lakers are currently in eighth in the West — a game and a half ahead of the Jazz, a game and a half behind the Rockets, and two and a half games behind the Warriors. Given the schedule to close out the season, a best-case scenario would be a rise to the sixth seed, but finishing at seven or eight seems much more likely.

Should that happen, L.A. is looking at opening the playoffs on the road against either San Antonio or Oklahoma City, two teams that have played consistent, elite-level basketball for the majority of the season. There’s something to be said for peaking at the right time, of course, which a fully healthy Lakers squad might very well have a chance to do if things come together for them over the last 13 games of the regular season.

But while West mentioned Denver and Memphis as matchup nightmares for the Lakers (Denver, yes; Memphis, I’m still not sold), he failed to mention the Spurs at all, while commenting that the Thunder don’t seem to be as good since they traded James Harden.

Something tells me San Antonio and OKC will have plenty to say about how far the Lakers go in the postseason, should either team be fortunate enough to draw L.A. in the first round of the playoffs.

  1. money2long - Mar 21, 2013 at 10:14 PM

    the logo has spoken

    • spthegr8 - Mar 22, 2013 at 10:04 AM

      I REALLY don’t see what the big deal is. It’s his opinion & I for one agree with him. It’s all about match ups. We would match up much better against the spurs then we would the thunder. Either way, we gta a shot & @ the end of the day. That’s ALL you can ask for. It’s still LAKESHOW ALL DAY!!!!

      • fanofevilempire - Mar 22, 2013 at 7:29 PM

        Lakers won’t run and hide, just play ball.

  2. rjlink1 - Mar 21, 2013 at 10:28 PM

    Actually they’ll have two chances: slim and none.

    • manchestermiracle - Mar 21, 2013 at 11:04 PM

      I was unaware you were more knowledgeable than a highly successful GM of a multiple title-winning franchise. Too bad you’ve fallen so far you’re now commenting on a sports blog. My condolences.

      • kinggw - Mar 22, 2013 at 12:37 AM

        You dont have to be a rocket scientist to know that West is biased. Considering the Lakers record this season against the top 5 teams in the West, rjlink’s prediction isnt out of left field.

      • mytthor - Mar 22, 2013 at 1:47 AM

        All he said was teams should be scared of the Lakers. They may not be the best team in the league but you have to admit they’re a lot more dangerous than your average 6, 7, or 8 seed.

    • bigrele - Mar 22, 2013 at 2:16 PM

      rjlink1′s brief comment pretty much sums it up, as far as being objective there’s really nothing to be objective about when it comes to the Lakers; and furthermore because Jerry West makes a statement about the Lakers chances doesn’t mean we have to listen, its his opinion & its no different than the opinions that were tossed out before the season started about how the road to the Finals in the West goes through LA which looks nothing but Fool’s Gold now lol! This team scares no one & the way theyve played all season is why no team in the West is scared to play the Lakers, why should they be? All this is from Laker fans is denial & wishful thinking but the bottom line is this team hasn’t played up to expectations all season, Gasol & Howard haven’t dominated anything all season together on the floor & it ain’t gonna start come playoff time! Regardless if its the Spurs or Thunder in the 1st round, they going to the house, bank on it!

  3. 8nflfan7 - Mar 21, 2013 at 10:57 PM

    Hahaa funny. Well i thought that look at the roster they had awhile back with shaq kobe the glove karlmolone big FAIL

    • aboogy123456 - Mar 22, 2013 at 9:39 AM

      did you watch that team? They made it to the finals that year. It’s not like it was a complete failure, and they lost to a very good pistons team. Also, Karl malone was completely ineffective in the finals because of a sprained ankle, and it’s not like him or Payton were in their prime anyway.

  4. johninthewest - Mar 21, 2013 at 11:44 PM

    Who gives a crap about the Lakers? That’s all PBT talks about.

    • Kurt Helin - Mar 22, 2013 at 2:34 AM

      Says the guy who clicked on and commented on a Lakers post.

      • manchestermiracle - Mar 22, 2013 at 11:15 AM

        Yeah, those trolls are like a slow pitch softball, just begging to get smacked out of the park.

      • asimonetti88 - Mar 22, 2013 at 12:21 PM

        haha straight up smackdown. Point, Helin.

  5. savvybynature - Mar 22, 2013 at 12:07 AM

    I guess I’d give them a puncher’s chance against anyone, but I think they would need DHoward to be dominant to win a series, and I just haven’t seen that out of him this season.

    Also, it’s pretty unlikely they could beat 3 top Western Conference teams to make the Finals, and unless the esteem of Lakers fans has fallen off dramatically, nothing else would matter. As they are wont to constantly tell other fans, they judge success by banners, not a first-round series win and then a quick second-round ouster.

  6. lucifershuttlesworth - Mar 22, 2013 at 12:11 AM

    The Lakers would have a good shot at taking out the Clips, G-State or Rockets but as far as LA beating any of the top four teams in the West, it isn’t happening. Not this year.

  7. lakerluver - Mar 22, 2013 at 12:27 AM

    The Spurs don’t scare the LAKERS. Neither does Memphis. OKC and Denver are matchup problems but when healthy the LAKERS are matchup problems for them as well. Pau and Dwight should dominate opposing frontlines. Can’t wait for the “real” season to begin.

    • kinggw - Mar 22, 2013 at 12:46 AM

      “Pau and Dwight should dominate opposing frontlines.”

      Right, just like they’ve done all season. And before you start using injuries as an excuse, Gasol wasnt doing anything before he got injured.

      I get it that your a Lakers fan, it doesnt mean you have the throw all objectivity out of the window. All four of the teams you mention plus the Clippers should terrify the Lakers.

      • mytthor - Mar 22, 2013 at 1:51 AM

        Gasol’s been injured all year, btw.

        Telling lakerluver not to throw objectivity out the window is a waste of time. That ship sailed long ago. Memphis definitely doesn’t scare me – I don’t think they can score on the Lakers. San Antonio is too old. The Clippers won’t beat the Lakers because they have an identity problem – the Lakers can stop everyone except Chris Paul and CP can’t average 30 for a series anymore.

        The Lakers would have to get pretty lucky to beat OKC in a 7 game series though, for sure. Denver really attacks the Lakers’ weakness but that kind of ball rarely wins in the playoffs.

      • aboogy123456 - Mar 22, 2013 at 11:19 AM

        I think any one who makes a judgement on this team is not being objective because we really haven’t seen them play yet.. This season has been their training camp and guys are starting to get healthy. Some people think they will win it all and some people think they have no chance. People say they have no chance because of their record against top teams but they are a better team now and will be better in a month. Dwight is finally becoming dominant, I for one am patient but very optimistic and excited.

      • aboogy123456 - Mar 22, 2013 at 12:23 PM

        “Right, just like they’ve done all season”

        I like how you point to this past season as conclusive evidence as if they haven’t dominated opposing front lines their entire career. You are the one not being objective, let’s agree that Dwight and Pau have POTENTIAL to dominate the front lines in the playoffs, because they have proven that they can do it when healthy.

  8. lakerluver - Mar 22, 2013 at 12:30 AM

    @manchester
    let the haters have their say, that’s the sound of fear, my friend. Fear that the LAKERS are finally resembling the team that Vegas picked right behind Miami as favorites to win it all.

    • bucrightoff - Mar 22, 2013 at 7:21 AM

      Well if Vegas picked them to be one of the favorites…

  9. herlies - Mar 22, 2013 at 12:36 AM

    Sounds like a fair and unbiased opinion.

  10. zblott - Mar 22, 2013 at 12:40 AM

    It depends on who’s reffing.

  11. themars211 - Mar 22, 2013 at 1:26 AM

    Life long Laker fan here…. I feel like the Lakers can hang with 7 out of the 8 western playoff teams. The one team I think they will not be able to beat is the Denver Nuggets. Especially with out homecourt advantage. Based on the earlier matchups we could barely stay on the court with them…..smdh

  12. dannymac17 - Mar 22, 2013 at 1:45 AM

    LMAO well after gifting the Lakers with players, of course he says that.

    • mytthor - Mar 22, 2013 at 1:52 AM

      Please. Let’s wake up and smell reality. It was a popular opinion at the time but there isn’t a team in the league that wouldn’t rather have Marc than Pau now.

      • asimonetti88 - Mar 22, 2013 at 12:27 PM

        Not to mention Jerry West didn’t work for the Grizzlies when the Gasol trade went down. The GM was Chris Wallace. The guy who traded for three years of Vin Baker (the drunk Vin too, not the good one) and decided Tony Delk was a better player than Joe Johnson 30 games into Joe’s rookie season.

  13. davidly - Mar 22, 2013 at 5:22 AM

    I think the Lakers’ success in the playoffs–will depend largely upon if and when they poop their bigboy pants. If they poop their bigboy pants in the first or second quarters, they could still recover in the second half, assuming they don’t poop them so bad that they can’t get changed in time. On the other hand, if they don’t poop their bigboy pants at all, the other team will have a challenge on their hands.

    Be forewarned, though, Lakers’ fans: Sometimes a team that is playing consistently well can make you poop your bigboy pants even when you’re trying really hard not to.

  14. omniusprime - Mar 22, 2013 at 9:09 AM

    Jerry West knows a thing or two about NBA basketball so I’d be inclined to listen to the old Laker guru who guided the Lakers to many championships. I do think that a healthy Lakers team could beat any team in the NBA, including that team Queen James is on. I sure hope the report is true that Kobe and Pau will return tonight against the lowly Wizards, it will be good to see the whole team together again.

    Facing the Spurs or Blunder early in the first round might well help the Lakers. I would love to see the Lakers get to the 6th seed to face Memphis, that’s a team that’s overrated and under-experienced. I’m hoping that despite Dumbtoni’s pathetic coaching the Lakers will do some damage in the playoffs, just like Kobe predicted.

    Thanks Dr. Buss, Rest in Peace!!! Fire Dumbtoni!!! Welcome Back Kobe and Pau!!!

  15. bucrightoff - Mar 22, 2013 at 9:52 AM

    I get that the Lakers, with their 4 potential HOFers, don’t fit the bill of the standard 7 or 8 seed. But like most 7 or 8 seeds, the Lakers record against the top 5 in the West (2-13 for the record), is very consistent with a 7 or 8 seed. They obviously have a bit more of chance, but they are what their record indicates against the best: Not very good.

  16. dirtydavis - Mar 22, 2013 at 1:43 PM

    Lakers 2013 Champs!!!

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