Golden State Warriors

Why Perk believes Dubs, not Lakers, have better playoff chances

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As both the Los Angeles Lakers and Warriors battle for Western Conference playoff positioning, one prominent NBA analyst believes Golden State has a better shot at making a deep postseason run.

When asked about both teams' playoff potential, ESPN analyst Kendrick Perkins explained why he would pick the Warriors over the Lakers on Thursday’s episode of “First Take.”

“I think it’s night and day, it’s Golden State over the Lakers right now, any day of the week,” Perkins said. And here’s why, number one Steph [Curry] is playing like a top-five player in the NBA right now, he’s one of the scariest dudes to play against.”

Perkins then went on to explain that the Warriors have a great combination of young upstarts and wily veterans who have bought into the system, while the Lakers continue to struggle with dysfunction.

“Number two, we talked about the mixture, the combination of youth with old. Now, some would say Golden State doesn’t have great depth on the bench, but what I’ve been seeing from Chris Paul, [Trayce] Jackson-Davis, what they’ve been providing, Klay [Thompson] off the bench, they have been rolling.

“What I’m looking at when I’m looking at the Warriors, I’m looking at a team that has bought all the way in, a team that has finally got over that hump, that’s saying ‘you know what, we’re taking ourselves out of the equation, losing ourselves within in the team.’ When I look at the Lakers, I see a dysfunctional organization right now.

The Warriors and the Lakers currently occupy the final two spots in the Western Conference play-in standings, meaning they would have to play each other in a winner-goes-home matchup to get a chance to make it to a playoff series.

Still, Perkins does not believe that the Warriors can make a deep playoff run, emphatically explaining that the top teams in the Western Conference are just too far beyond Golden State at this point, given the team’s slow start to the season.

“Hell no!” Perkins said. “They're too late to the party. They didn't get the VIP wristbands and they can't get in. Are they playing some exceptional basketball right now? Yes they are, but at the end of the day they’re playing catchup from where they started off at the beginning of the season.”

While the Warriors have plenty of young talent, Perkins does not think the likes of Jonathan Kuminga and Brandin Podziemski will be ready to step up to the challenges of postseason play.

“And when I look at this team, I strongly believe that Jonathan Kuminga, he’s going to be special, what Podziemski is bringing to the table leading the league in charges taken right now, he is going to be huge for them in the future," Perkins explained. "But we all know that the playbook gets a little bit thicker when it comes to the postseason. And Jonathan Kuminga, he’s going to go through growing pains, they’re going to have a scouting report on him…”

Considering the recent losses the Warriors have suffered to the Denver Nuggets and the Los Angeles Clippers, the outspoken "First Take" commentator does not have any faith in Golden State winning a playoff series against those teams.

“At the end of the day, I just look at the top dogs, I look at the Denver Nuggets, I look at the Clippers, I look at all these teams that are in the top of the west, and if I have to match the Warriors up with them and I can’t see them getting past those teams.”

While the Warriors have been on a hot streak since Draymond Green's return from an indefinite suspension, the team still has plenty of work to do over the final weeks of the regular season to get better playoff positioning.

Then there’s the matter of knocking off the best teams in the West in a long postseason series, so it remains to be seen if Golden State is up to the task.

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