Jared Dudley says teams ducking Lakers made big mistake
The NBA’s playoff seedings have been set, and the Los Angeles Lakers are temporarily in the No. 7 slot. They will face the Golden State Warriors in a play-in game and will have to win one of their two play-in games in order to make the first round of the playoffs.
Because the Lakers are the defending champions and have LeBron James and Anthony Davis, some teams were trying to avoid facing them in the playoffs. The Clippers specifically lost their last few games, likely to avoid the Lakers.
If teams were trying to avoid the Lakers early, Jared Dudley thinks that was unwise.
Dudley, who only plays sparingly for the Lakers, was asked after Sunday’s 110-98 win over the Pelicans about teams seemingly ducking the Lakers. He said he thinks it was a mistake because facing the Lakers early in the playoffs would have been wiser than facing them later.
Jared Dudley, without naming names, said teams were “managing” their schedules down the stretch to avoid the Lakers. He thinks it’s a bad strategy: says the Lakers will be most susceptible to an upset in the first round and will only get stronger from there.
— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) May 17, 2021
Dudley pointed out that with James coming off an ankle injury, the team to face the Lakers is sooner rather than later. The more games the Lakers play, the more chemistry they will have built, and the harder they will be to defeat.
His point is probably accurate. But Dudley also understood why a team like Denver would want to avoid them altogether.