5 Unlikely heavyweights positioned to make surprisingly deep playoff runs

Having been overlooked for much of the season, there are 5 unlikely heavyweights that could be in position to make a deep playoff run.

Miami Heat v New York Knicks - Game One
Miami Heat v New York Knicks - Game One / Elsa/GettyImages
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Los Angeles Lakers

It may be a bit strange to entertain the thought of the Los Angeles Lakers possibly making a strong push toward the playoffs and then making any type of noise once they get there. After all, they've been one of the most inconsistent of the "fringe contenders" in the league. However, when you add a bit of context to their situation, it's not that outlandish to carve out a road to the conference finals for Los Angeles.

If the Lakers finish as the 8th seed, which may end up being the case if they make the playoffs, there's a chance that they won't have to face the defending champion Denver Nuggets until the conference finals. The Lakers' path to the Nuggets could include a first-round pairing against an inexperienced Minnesota Timberwolves and then a potential second-round matchup with the LA Clippers or one of the other middle-of-the-pack West teams (Sacramento, Dallas, New Orleans, or Phoenix).

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If the Lakers begin clicking down the stretch and find another gear when the playoffs begin, another unlikely run to the conference finals can't be completely discounted.