As the defending NBA Champions, there is a strong belief that the L.A. Lakers are still the team to beat in the West.
With LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and a host of supporting cast members, the Lakeshow have a team that can compete with anyone on paper.
But amid injuries to Bron and AD, and inconsistent play from the role players, the team is struggling to keep their standing, and currently sit 6th in the West with a 37-28 record.
Their play has many people doubting their potential in the playoffs, including Charles Barkley, who recently picked the Nuggets to beat them in a seven-game series.
“If the season ended today, I would take the Nuggets over the Lakers,” Barkley said.
It should be noted that Denver is without Jamal Murray, who suffered an ACL tear earlier in the season. And while Jokic, the leading MVP candidate, has the team in pretty good position, it will be tough to get past the Lakers without his co-star.
On the flip side, if LeBron James doesn't return to full strength, the Lakers might be extra vulnerable to an early exit.
In the end, nobody can say for sure who will win in a matchup. We'll just have to wait and see what happens, if the teams meet up, and if Barkley finally gets one right...