‘Good Strategy’: Veteran Jared Dudley Believes Rival Teams Are Smart to Avoid Lakers

Published 05/17/2021, 10:53 AM EDT
May 15, 2021; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) gets a high five from forward Anthony Davis (3) after a foul in the second quarter against the Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports


The Los Angeles Lakers finished as the number one seed last season. And now a year later, they have ended their 2020-21 campaign as the seventh seed. However, teams are still afraid of them, no matter where they stand in the Conference..

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In the last few days, the Clippers and now the Nuggets, have rested players in order to affect who they will face in the playoffs. Fans feel both teams are trying to avoid Lakers at least in the first round. And according to Lakers veteran Jared Dudley, those teams are making smart moves.

“Some people are avoiding,” he said in a recent interview. “For Denver, I’d say it was smart. For them to win this game and play Portland instead of us. You don’t want to play the champs. It’s not avoiding. You want to wait to play the best teams later on. Give themselves the best possible chance. I don’t call it avoiding, I just call it good strategy.”

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How Clippers and Nuggets avoided Lakers

The Clippers were likely to finish as the second or third seed. Finishing as the second seed could mean they face the Lakers in the first round, whereas third seed could lead to a second round clash with their archrivals. But after losing their last two games, the Clippers have avoided both of those scenarios. They are now the fourth seed and the earliest they can face the Lakers is the Conference Final.

May 6, 2021; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward Anthony Davis (3) is defended by LA Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard (2) and center Ivica Zubac (40) in the first half at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Nuggets on the other hand, avoided a potential first round clash against the Lakers after losing their final game of the season. That loss against the Blazers helped Damian Lillard’s side to stay ahead of the Lakers in the standings. And now the Nuggets face the Blazers in the first round instead of the Lakers.

Can the Purple and Gold defend their title?

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The Lakers will have to beat the Warriors in their play-in game to enter the playoffs as the seventh seed. If they lose they have another chance to enter as the eighth seed at least. But this means they will need a historic campaign to win the title. The lowest seed to win the title were the 1994-95 Rockets who were the sixth seed.

So if the Lakers win the title, this title run will be cemented in history but it will definitely not be an easy one.

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Apr 22, 2021; Dallas, Texas, USA; Los Angeles Lakers injured forward LeBron James (23) speaks with teammates during the second quarter against the Dallas Mavericks at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

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Aaron Mathew

1655 articles

Aaron Mathew is a sports analyst at EssentiallySports. A graduate in Mass Media from Xavier’s College, Aaron has been a part of EssentiallySports since May 2020 where he covers both NBA and NCAA basketball news, and has also covered NBA 2K. In the past, Aaron has worked at the Sports Desk of Mumbai Mirror.

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