NBA insiders believe the Portland Trail Blazers are a legitimate threat to the Los Angeles Lakers, per Marc Stein of the New York Times.
The Blazers are currently battling with the Memphis Grizzlies for the eighth spot in the Western Conference and a clash with the Lakers in the first round of the playoffs.
“I spoke to representatives from two teams, from would-be sleepers in each conference, and received completely different forecasts about the impact of having just three weeks of full-speed practices before stuffing eight games into a 16-day window before the playoffs.
One said that the compact comeback could be a true equalizer. Example: Some league insiders see Portland as a threat to upset the Lakers in a first-round series after welcoming back its previously ailing frontcourt pair of Jusuf Nurkic and Zach Collins.
The other executive, by contrast, described the eight seeding games all teams must play before the postseason as a lengthy runway that will afford the Lakers, the Bucks and the Clippers time to regain their March form,” Stein reports.