The most likely scenario for the play-in tournament is a showdown between the Los Angeles Lakers and New Orleans Pelicans, per ESPNs Andrew Lopez and Matt Williams.
If this matchup were to occur, it would pit former Pelicans franchise cornerstone Anthony Davis against his old team. Though the first thought for many would be the battle between AD and an explosive behemoth in Zion Williamson, the 2019 first overall pick still hasn’t been cleared to return from his hamstring injury yet.
Though it’s likely that Zion would play given the circumstance, the best performer for the Pelicans that night could be star forward Brandon Ingram.
Like Davis, Ingram would have his chance for the proverbial revenge game.
The circumstances are different, as AD left New Orleans in search of more success. Ingram, who the Lakers drafted second overall in 2016, was traded in order for L.A. to get Davis.
With all those factors, one would expect the fireworks to be out in Los Angeles (or New Orleans), even without factoring in the fanfare that would surround LeBron James.
With LeBron and the Lakers failing to make the playoffs last year, the 38-year-old is even more motivated to help his team make a playoff run. The 2020 NBA Finals are beginning to become a distant memory, even for the fans. So, one can’t expect his last championship ring to satiate him during his pursuit of greatness.
If the Lakers don’t face the Pelicans, then they would either have an in-state battle with the Golden State Warriors or the Los Angeles Clippers. Like the matchup against New Orleans, a play-in game against either the Steph Curry-led Warriors or Kawhi Leonard-led Clippers would be entertaining beyond the on-court play.
This time though, it would be LeBron facing his old foes.
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