Lakers underneath new menace

The Memphis Grizzlies are an actual menace within the Western Convention.

The Grizzlies are presently the shock No 1 seed with a 12-5 report with the defending NBA champions Golden State Warriors having slipped to No 5 as a result of a four-game shedding streak.

And the Los Angeles Lakers – who’re in seventh – and their fellow playoff contenders have been warned to not underestimate Memphis by Paul Pierce.

The retired ahead informed NBA GameTime: “Memphis, they’re stunning in the present day, however I feel they’re for actual. 

“We don’t discuss them sufficient – [Marc] Gasol, Mike Conley, these guys are having nice years. 

“I don’t anticipate them to be the No 1 seed when the top of the 12 months comes. However I imagine they’re a playoff group. 

“Earlier than the season you wouldn’t have picked the Memphis Grizzlies as a playoff group. You then have a look at the underside, you see Sacramento [at No 10] are two-and-a-half video games out of first place.”

Kevin Durant warning 

The Golden State Warriors will nonetheless be the perfect group within the NBA in the event that they lose Kevin Durant this coming summer season – however it can enhance the possibilities of the competitors. 

That’s in response to Nick Wright.

Durant can decide out of the ultimate 12 months of his contract with Golden State and has been linked with a free company transfer to the Los Angeles Lakers or the New York Knicks amongst different groups.

The back-to-back MVP is significantly contemplating his future and has had a latest bust-up with team-mate Draymond Inexperienced.

And Wright insists the Warriors will not be far and away the perfect within the league in the event that they lose Durant.

He mentioned on First Issues First on Fox Sports activities: “I feel if and when – and it’s extra when than if – Durant leaves the Warriors, this group minus Durant are nonetheless a championship contender. 

“I don’t assume the Warriors who had been a contender earlier than Durant acquired there, in the event that they lose him hastily go to that subsequent tier of groups. 

“They only be a part of, as Kerr was speaking about, they’ll as soon as once more be in the true NBA the place there’s a half-dozen groups which have an actual shot at a championship versus -250 favourites in opposition to all the remainder of the league mixed. [It would be a] Little extra compelling.”

LeBron James shock

NBA insider Stephen A. Smith insists he’s not stunned by LeBron James and the Lakers’ latest enchancment.

Having began the season 2-5, they’ve since gained eight of their final 10 video games to climb up the West and into No 7.

And their rise is not any shock to Smith, who informed Get Up! on ESPN: “You speaking in regards to the Lakers being a reasonably good group? Didn’t somebody proper subsequent to you come on this present was speaking in regards to the convention finals? 

“That occurred to be me – I’m not stunned in any respect! It’s LeBron James, LeBron James main a group and also you’ve acquired lengthy, athletic, youthful our bodies round you. 

“And by the way in which, there’s been some drop-off within the Western Convention. We see the Golden State Warriors struggling somewhat bit, we noticed Portland get blown out by 43 to the Greek Freak [Giannis Antetokounmpo] in Milwaukee.

“We’ve seen Oklahoma Metropolis wrestle at the least initially, don’t even get me began on the Houston Rockets and what their struggles have been. And naturally Utah as effectively. 

“These are the form of issues I pointed to – the acquisition of LeBron to the Western Convention together with the slight dissipation on part of all the pieces else throughout the board led me to imagine the Lakers had an opportunity. Lo and behold, right here they’re. I’m so stunned!”

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