The Portland Trail Blazers are still battling for their place in the 2020 playoffs and, with so many unknowns, there's no telling if they'll make it in the end.
But if they do sneak in, many insiders believe they pose a very real and significant threat to overthrow the Lakers.
“I spoke to representatives from two teams, from would-be sleepers in each conference, and received completely different forecasts about the impact of having just three weeks of full-speed practices before stuffing eight games into a 16-day window before the playoffs.
“One said that the compact comeback could be a true equalizer. Example: Some league insiders see Portland as a threat to upset the Lakers in a first-round series after welcoming back its previously ailing frontcourt pair of Jusuf Nurkic and Zach Collins. The other executive, by contrast, described the eight seeding games all teams must play before the postseason as a lengthy runway that will afford the Lakers, the Bucks and the Clippers time to regain their March form.”
With Nurkic, Collins, and Carmelo Anthony joining Dame and CJ, the Blazers have more talent than most teams out West. In fact, much of the reason for their struggles this season has no doubt been due to injury. Rodney Hood, Zach Collins, Jusuf Nurkic, Damian Lillard, and CJ McCollum have all missed time this season.
But whether or not they can really upset the Lakers is a different conversation entirely, but many experts seem to think it's possible. It's only a matter of time before we find out.