Warriors Will Have Better Record Than Lakers, John Hollinger Predicts

The Lakers beat the Warriors by 22 points in the preseason opener last Saturday at Chase Center.

The Lakers are considered legitimate title contenders this season, while the majority of the basketball world isn't giving the Dubs a chance.

John Hollinger of The Athletic is in the minority.

The former Memphis Grizzlies executive believes the Warriors will enter the playoffs as the No. 4 seed in the West (with a record of 51-31), and the Lakers will be No. 5 (at 50-32).

Yes, this means Golden State would host Los Angeles in the first round.

Here a couple of excerpts from Hollinger's Pacific Division preview:

Anyone projecting Golden State to miss the playoffs needs to rethink that take. Arguably they still have the league's best offensive player (Steph Curry) and the league's best defensive player (Draymond Green).

Don't sleep on this team if it gets off to a sluggish start. Once the Warriors land a buyout guy or two and [Klay] Thompson (hopefully) comes back, they could emerge as a postseason terror once again, despite a middling playoff seed.

With LeBron James and Anthony Davis, the Lakers have an awesome foundation, and unlike last summer they actually imported some decent help in free agency.

L.A.'s superstar combo assures a playoff spot, but to advance deeper requires more work. This roster still has considerable shortcomings, and recent front office decisions don't inspire confidence that they'll be fixed.

Hollinger thinks the Warriors are a lock to make the playoffs. The depth is a major concern, but if Curry, Draymond and D'Angelo Russell stay healthy all season, it's hard to disagree.

[RELATED'Warriors small forward' NBA's worst group, Hollinger says]

But if any of those three miss an extended stretch of games, the season very well could come to an end in mid-April.

The Lakers, meanwhile, are deeper than the Dubs and should get back to the postseason for the first time since 2013. An injury to LeBron or Davis, however, could derail things in a hurry.

Do these teams really need to play each other three more times in the preseason? Can the regular season just get here already?

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