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With the Lakers currently on pace to finish with the worst record of any Lebron James-led team, there hasn’t been much for their fans to celebrate this season. And fans aren’t the only ones frustrated with how the season is going; James lost his cool on the court during a game against the Toronto Raptors on Tuesday, bouncing a ball off one of his opponents.

Nothing about the Lakers’ performance looks playoff ready, let alone championship ready. However, not all is lost. There’s a slim chance the Lakers could make it to the playoffs if everything falls into place over the next month. James insists it’s not over until it’s over and, as long as there are remaining games, the team has a chance. Now that the playoffs are only a month away, it’s a good time to see how the Lakers could make it to the playoffs.

A Spark of Hope?

Lakers fans have endured a lot of heartbreak this season, with their team’s win-loss ratio sitting under 50%. However, their biggest star, Lebron James, has turned in 50+ point performances to beat the Golden State Warriors and Orlando Magic, giving fans hope of a turnaround. With the Lakers’ lackluster performance this season, many fans are wondering how likely it is their favorite team will even make this year’s playoffs. Betting is one-way fans participate in the excitement of the NBA season, with many checking the latest NBA basketball odds as the playoffs approach. Although the Lakers are often in the win column regarding NBA odds, this year has been different.

It’s hard to believe the Lakers started off the 202/22 season as the Western Conference favorites. But, as their star has fallen, the odds of winning this year’s NBA title have plummeted. The team has endured boos and heckling from fans and faced relentless criticism in the press and social media. So, while there’s a spark of hope that the Lakers can overcome this disastrous season and turn things around in the playoffs, it’s just a spark. In all likelihood, the Lakers will be going home early if they make the playoffs.

The NBA’s Play-In Tournament

The Lakers

The Lakers are one of the most successful basketball teams in NBA history, having won 17 championships. Unfortunately for their fans, though, the franchise’s greatness hasn’t been on display this year. That doesn’t bode well for the playoffs, and the Lakers’ best chance of getting a spot in this years will come through the play-in round.

The top six teams in each conference automatically get spots in the playoffs. The teams ranked seven through ten must compete for the final playoff spots in the play-in round. The Lakers are currently ranked number nine in the Western Conference. Assuming they can hold onto that position or not sink any lower than number ten in the rankings, they’ll participate in the play-in competition.

However, it’s important to remember the NBA play-in round isn’t the playoffs. If they make it to the play-in competition, they’ll still have to beat teams like the Timberwolves, Clippers, or Pelicans (assuming nothing changes) to get the 7th or 8th seed in the playoffs. That’s far from guaranteed, given how the Lakers have played of late.

King James

Lebron James, affectionately known to fans as King James, is NBA royalty, and the Lakers’ success in the play-in tournament and beyond rests squarely on his shoulders. He recently proved that age hadn’t slowed him by leading his team with 50+ point performances and recently becoming the only player in NBA history to reach at least 10,000 points (he has over 30K career points), 10,000 rebounds, and 10,000 assists. If he can sustain this level of play, the Lakers will most likely win the play-in tournament. However, basketball is a team sport, so he’ll need his teammates to step up to make it past the first round of the playoffs.