Former NBA All-Star believes Lakers would upset this West favorite in a first-round playoff matchup

Could the Los Angeles Lakers pull off a first-round upset in the NBA Playoffs?
Oklahoma City Thunder v Los Angeles Lakers
Oklahoma City Thunder v Los Angeles Lakers / Ronald Martinez/GettyImages

One former NBA All-Star believes the Los Angeles Lakers could upset a Western Conference favorite in the first round of the NBA Playoffs.

Looking at the Western Conference standings, with just three weeks remaining in the regular season, it could be easy to overlook the Los Angeles Lakers as a potential threat to make some noise in the playoffs. Even though the Lakers have one of the best rosters on paper in the West, led by LeBron James and Anthony Davis, the team's inconsistencies this season likely point to an early playoff exit if they even qualify via the Play-In Tournament.

However, there's at least a glimmer of hope that the Lakers could potentially go on another surprising playoff run. Last season, as the 7th seed, the Lakers beat the Memphis Grizzlies in the first round of the playoffs and then the Golden State Warriors in the second round as they made an unlikely run to the Western Conference Finals.

There could be a path toward the Lakers doing something similar this season, especially if they can find a way to avoid the Denver Nuggets in the first round. According to one former NBA All-Star, there's one specific first-round West favorite that the Lakers would have little trouble with.

On a recent episode of his podcast, Gilbert Arenas said that he believes the Lakers would "smack" the Oklahoma City Thunder if given the chance in a first-round playoff series.

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From an objective standpoint, it's easy to see where Arenas is coming from. There's an argument to be made that the Lakers are the more talented team than the Thunder. They're also clearly the more experienced team between the two. The Thunder have surely been the more consistent team this year in the regular season but none of that matters as soon as the playoff lights are turned on.

If these two teams were to match up in a first-round playoff series, which could theoretically happen if the Thunder finishes as the 2-seed and the Lakers qualify as the 7-seed, you can't help but wonder how it would shake down.

Because of the Thunder's inexperience and the lack of household names, the general public would likely favor the Lakers. And that is echoed with this opinion from Arenas. While the Lakers could like this potential matchup, this could also be the moment that the Thunder announces themselves to the world.

A first-round playoff series between the Thunder and Lakers could be increasingly interesting to watch. At this point, I'm kind of rooting for it to come to fruition.

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