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ESPN host urges Lakers to concede to Pelicans in Play-In

Published April 15, 2024 at 7:20 PM
BY KEVIN BARREAU
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The Los Angeles Lakers face a dilemma heading into the play-in tournament against the New Orleans Pelicans. Sitting at the 8th seed, they risk a matchup with the Denver Nuggets in the first round if they win. ESPN's Mike Greenberg suggests sitting LeBron James and Anthony Davis against the Pelicans to secure the 8th seed and potentially face the OKC Thunder instead.

"The Lakers should not play tomorrow night," Greenberg said. "They should not play LeBron, they should not play AD. They do not want to be the 7-seed. You want to be the 8."

The ESPN Host suggests that the Lakers should take on the winners of the Golden State Warriors or The Sacramento Kings, a move he deems risky but ultimately worthwhile.

It's important to recognize that all of this is hypothetical. The Lakers, known for their aversion to risk, are unlikely to deviate from convention by deliberately avoiding a challenge against the Pelicans, a team they typically handle well. There's the risk of ridicule if they were to do so and then lose to the Kings or Warriors. LeBron James probably wouldn't allow them to shy away from competition voluntarily, and as professional athletes, the Lakers likely believe they stand a chance against the Nuggets, at least in their fully healthy state.


However, my perspective differs. If we're taking a pragmatic approach, and the goal is truly a championship this season, the decision becomes clear: Rest the starters against New Orleans, take their chances in the subsequent play-in game, and then face the Thunder, a team they match up well against. This strategy aims to maximize their chances before encountering a team they're less likely to defeat in a series.

Some might call it avoidance, others might see it as strategic. If their sole focus is on increasing their odds of a title, perhaps the Lakers should see it that way too.

Source SB Nation : The Lakers should throw their play-in vs. the Pelicans to avoid the Nuggets
Source Sportskeeda : "They shouldn't play LeBron": ESPN host wants Lakers to throw in the towel against Pelicans in Play-In Tournament
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ESPN host urges Lakers to concede to Pelicans in Play-In

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