Predicting how many wins the Los Angeles Lakers need to avoid NBA Play-In Tournament

How many more wins do the Los Angeles Lakers need to secure in order to avoid the NBA Play-In Tournament?

Minnesota Timberwolves v Los Angeles Lakers
Minnesota Timberwolves v Los Angeles Lakers / Ronald Martinez/GettyImages
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What the Play-In Tournament picture looks like

Before we try to predict how many wins the Lakers will need to finish with this season in order to avoid the Play-In Tournament, let's look at what the bottom of the Western Conference standings look like at the moment. With the top 4 of the Oklahoma City Thunder, Denver Nuggets, Minnesota Timberwolves, and LA Clippers, in some order, all but locked in, there are six teams battling for the final two guaranteed playoff spots before the end of the regular season.

5. New Orleans Pelicans (37-27)
6. Phoenix Suns (36-27)
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7. Sacramento Kings (36-27)
8. Dallas Mavericks (36-28)
9. Los Angeles Lakers (36-30)
10. Golden State Warriors (33-30)

The Lakers are currently sitting as the 9th seed in the West standings but are only two games back of the sixth seed. It's also encouraging that they're only three games back (in the loss column) of the fifth seed. If they want to secure a top 6 seed, the Lakers are going to have to play some of their best basketball down the stretch.

The good news for the Lakers is that we've begun to see that from them over the last few weeks of the season. If they can continue to play at this level, there's no question the Lakers could end the season as a top 6 team in the standings and successfully avoid the Western Conference Play-In Tournament.