The Los Angeles Lakers clinched a playoff birth on March 6th, with the excitement of that slowly dissipating as the NBA season was promptly suspended five days later on March 11th after Rudy Gobert and others tested positive for COVID-19. That means Lakers Nation did not get to celebrate the achievement, an achievement that deserves celebration as the Lakers haven’t been in the playoffs in seven years (longest drought in franchise history). However, we can reschedule that celebration for now, as the Lakers have clinched the number one overall seed in the Western Conference after their win against the Utah Jazz on Monday night. An impressive feat, that has shown to be a precursor before a championship per Mike Trudell of the Lakers.
This is the 12th time since 1984 that the Lakers have secured the No. 1 seed in the West. They won titles 6 times in that position.
— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) August 4, 2020
Although this was expected to happen with a 5.5 game lead coming into the eight seeding games, it’s still very nice to hear considering the expectations that were given to the Lakers before the season. Although the Lakers were definitely considered to be a team that could threaten for an NBA championship, many wondered if the expectations and overall roster would lead to drama in the regular season. In this article from ESPN with their experts’ predictions on the season before it began, the Lakers were voted to end up as the fifth-seed in the West behind the Utah Jazz, Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Clippers, and Denver Nuggets. The ESPN experts also voted the Lakers as the second-most likely team to experience a turmoil-filled season. It was pretty clear early on that the Lakers were going to finish around the top three in the West, at the minimum. In addition, there has been nearly no turmoil in this season that can be attributed to the colorful personalities on the Lakers, as many experts predicted that additions such a Dwight Howard would cause problems for them.
We’ll see how this affects the way the Lakers go about these seeding games. Their seed in the playoffs is now locked in, while the Lakers will just have to see now who takes the 8th seed for their first-round matchup.