Los Angeles vs. Washington
This takes us to the what-if scenario of running into the Wizards with it all on the line. LA and DC have played twice already, both proving to be fun to watch games despite the Lakers not putting their best effort out at all times.
John Wall is a great challenge for Lonzo Ball. For the time being, Wall is the superior point guard and would give plenty of focus to the matchup with LaVar’s eldest son. It means that this series wouldn’t be decided by the point guard play, but rather how effective the Lakers let Bradley Beal become.
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Like Wall, Beal is a monster in his own right and can take matters into his own hands at any moment. Beal averages three more points per game than Wall, leading Washington with an average just shy of 24 points per game.
Meanwhile, the defensive ratings of both teams are identical, as they both allow 105.9 per contest. However, the Wizards average eight more points per game than the Lakers, while also holding the Lakers to 51 points in the paint.
The only opponent that LA has faced that has held them to less is Milwaukee (46).
Brook Lopez will be the x-factor against any of the big men that the Wizards put up against LA. He can score from all over, and if he has an off night it’ll be hard for the Lakers to pull through.
I firmly believe this series would be a toss up slightly favoring the Lakers, and for an interesting reason. Los Angeles would come into the series with a ton of young talent that would be new to all of the success that is supposedly heading their way sooner than later.
Meanwhile, a matchup with Washington in the NBA Finals would mean that the Wizards have finally figured out how to surge past Cleveland, Boston, and the rest of the interesting Eastern Conference.
That being said, the Lakers will play more confidently against a team like Washington because of the fact that they’ll have nothing to lose. But also because of the fact that, thanks to all of the hype behind Ball, they’ll feel more like they belong.
Washington will be trying to figure out how it got there.
Series MVP: Brook Lopez
Result: Los Angeles in 6