Bold Predictions for the NBA's Play-In Tournament (Lakers Set to Surprise)

Los Angeles Lakers v New Orleans Pelicans
Los Angeles Lakers v New Orleans Pelicans / Sean Gardner/GettyImages

The NBA Playoffs are just over two weeks away, but it will all begin with the play-in tournament. This addition has added a lot of intrigue to the final weeks of the season and although it seems small, these games can affect the big picture in a big way.

Several teams are only separated by a game in the standings, but who is going to make the final field in the playoffs?

Let’s take a look at these bold predictions, with odds provided by WynnBET.

NBA Play-in Tournament Bold Predictions

  • Cavaliers Get Eliminated
  • Lakers Earn No. 8 seed
  • New Orleans Isn't Involved

Cleveland Cavaliers Get Eliminated

For a majority of the year, the Cavaliers have been a fun team with a lot of potential. They were the Eastern Conference version of the Memphis Grizzlies. Somewhere along the way though, they fell off. The Cavaliers are now in the No. 7 seed in the East and will likely have to play the Brooklyn Nets in the first game. I’m counting that as a loss. With a second, unpredictable matchup, the Cavaliers are in serious trouble.

Atlanta and Charlotte both have offensive engines that can rival Darius Garland and can put a lot of pressure on the Cavs’ defense. Cleveland hasn’t shown me enough over the last month to trust them.

Los Angeles Lakers Earn No. 8 Seed

It just doesn’t feel right to bet against LeBron James. I know the Lakers have to make the play-in, but I think they can sneak in. As you’ll see in my next pick, Los Angeles has a way to get into the tournament. 

We’ve seen LeBron play through injury plenty of times. He’ll be back before the season ends. Let’s just hope the Lakers are in striking distance by then. 

New Orleans Pelicans Aren't Involved

Although the Pelicans have one of the easier remaining schedules in the league, there are still places for them to trip up. I’m going to give them two losses to the Grizzlies and Golden State Warriors and then add on two more losses from the Lakers and the Clippers (who are getting Paul George back). 

New Orleans hasn’t played its best ball recently and has chosen the wrong time to slide. With no momentum and two teams right on their back, I see the Pels missing the dance all together.