2023 NBA Playoffs Preview | Stop Wasting Time On The Lakers And Warriors, They’re Not Winning

The NBA regular season wrapped on Sunday, the play-in tournament begin on Tuesday and the playoffs start Saturday. It’s go time! There is talk about the defending champion Golden State Warriors and the once dead Los Angeles Lakers as possible champions.

Stop the madness. Neither the Lakers or Warriors will be 2023 champs.

Defending Champs Don’t Have It

It’s easy to fall into the trap of backing the Warriors. They are the defending champs, they still have Stephen Curry — one of the most feared players in the NBA — and the core of a team that has done it many times before.

“I don’t see a team who can beat us in a seven-game series when we’re healthy,” sharpshooter Klay Thompson said after last Friday’s win over the Sacramento Kings.

These are all compelling reasons to roll with the defending champs, and in a West where nobody seems to be a believer in the top teams, why not the experienced Dubs?

We just completed an 82-game season. That is a very good sample size. Teams that dominate the regular season, tend to do well in the postseason. It doesn’t guarantee a championship, as you need a little luck too. But you have to have done it all season long to be a serious threat in the playoffs.

Last season when the Warriors won the title, they finished the regular season fourth in aNET rating and second in aDRTG. Their opponent in the Finals, the Boston Celtics, finished first in aNET rating, and first in aDRTG.

This season the Warriors are 14th in aNET rating, 10th in aORTG and 17th in aDRTG. They are an abysmal 11-30 on the road and will have to win every series on the road to repeat.

Regardless of their pedigree, we’re not buying these Warriors as a serious title contender.

The Lakers Already Won Their Title

The 2020 Lakers won the title in the bubble. LeBron James accomplished what he said he would do. He and Anthony Davis brought the title back to Los Angeles. Anything else is gravy.

LeBron is 38 years old and coming off of a serious foot injury. He’s not going to get more healthy as the play-in and potential playoffs continues. Yes, the team has won eight of its last 10 to qualify, but they’ve been a middling team all season.

The Lakers are 15th in aNET rating, 20th in aORTG and 14th in aDRTG. The statistical model for a middle-of-the pack team.

We’ve seen LeBron do incredible things throughout his career. But leading this team to an NBA Finals is highly unlikely.

The Rest Of The Playoffs

The position that seems to be popular this postseason is to bash the top of the West and belittle the Denver Nuggets, Memphis Grizzlies and Sacramento Kings. All of whom have better records and aNET ratings than the Warriors and Lakers.

The reasons range from never having done it, nobody fears them, to frauds.

No team does it until they do it. That’s the reality of the NBA. The home court advantage in Denver and Memphis are real, and if you don’t think Kings fans will be raucous for the playoffs after missing the last 16 years you don’t get fandom.

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