In the West bracket of SB Nation's ongoing NBA 3 on 3 Tournament, the 3rd-seeded Los Angeles Lakers are facing the 11th-seeded Phoenix Suns in a series that looks like a huge mismatch on paper.
The Lakers, in case you missed it, added a couple of pretty good players to their roster this summer, and both of them are featured on their 3 on 3 team. Steve Nash, Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard comprise a ridiculous trio -- three players who have defined their position in the NBA in recent years. Nash and Bryant are both a bit long in the tooth (especially Nash), which may be this team's only vulnerability.
The Suns pulled off the biggest (really the only) upset of the first round when they beat Denver. But while the Suns created some matchup problems for the Nuggets, that's just not the case here. Goran Dragic and Marcin Gortat comprise a very competent 1-5 pick-and-roll pair, and Jared Dudley can spot up off the ball. But it's a faded mirror image of a Lakers team that one ups them across the board. Think of it this way -- Dragic and Gortat spent significant portions of their careers backing up Nash and Howard and it's not as if anyone was arguing that they needed to be the starters. And then there's Kobe. Jacob Padilla of Bright Side of the Sun successfully predicted the Suns upset of the Nuggets, but reading his explanation of how the Suns might beat this Lakers team one gets the impression that even he is not really buying it.
Let's see what our panel of experts has to say.
- Tom Ziller, SB Nation NBA, Sactown Royalty -- Lakers win 19 of 20
- Andrew Sharp, SB Nation -- Lakers win 20 of 20
- Steve Perrin, SB Nation, Clips Nation -- Lakers win 19 of 20
- Frank Madden, Brew Hoop - Lakers win 16 of 20
- Adam Francis, Raptors HQ -- Lakers win 20 of 20
- Probability to win any given game -- Lakers 94 percent; Phoenix 6 percent
- Probability to win series -- Lakers 98.96 percent; Phoenix 1.04 percent
This matchup is just gross. -- Ziller
I don't understand how Phoenix got this far, but L.A. would beat most teams 20-0, so I guess there's no shame in the inevitable blowout loss that comes here. -- Sharp
In the first round, I could imagine the Warriors getting hot from deep and stealing a few games from the Lakers. Much more difficult to figure how that happens when both teams are playing the same style, but one is this much more talented. -- Perrin
The Suns have the basic pieces needed to put together a solid 3 on 3 squad (big PG, shooter on the wing and a tough big), but the Lakers have them beat at every spot. -- Madden
Shut out, Dragic and the Suns aren't winning a game in this one. -- Francis
The Bottom Line
Yikes. The experts seem to think this one's a fait accompli. There is of course a random element here, but as evidenced by the almost 99 percent chance the Lakers have of advancing, it would take a near miracle from the dice.
The only way the Suns win is on rolls of 95 or higher. It could happen . . . but two times out of three?
What are your thoughts on this one?
The results will be posted at 5 p.m. ET.
For a complete look at the SB Nation 3 on 3 Tournament, check back with this StoryStream.