ESPN predicts the Lakers won’t make the playoffs

Looks like someone at ESPN started happy hour a little early today.

That someone in Kevin Pelton. Known for his cap prowess and analytic work, Pelton seems to think that the addition of LeBron isn’t enough to end LA’s playoff drought.

Check out his predictions below.

I would argue that the Celtics will finish as the top seed in the East, but Toronto could repeat as the number one seed. That’s a reasonable take. The West though…

Are the Jazz an awesome team? Yes. Do they have the high end talent required to finish as the second seed. Probably not.

Perplexingly, Pelton has the Nuggets jumping five spots from last year, as they go from 9th in the West to 4th. Woah. He’ll also need to explain how Minnesota surpasses the Thunder, despite OKC improving their roster. Interesting.

What are you conference predictions? Who will rise and who will fall? Let us know!

The full piece is for ESPN insiders, but click here for it.