Former NBA forward Channing Frye believes the Los Angeles Lakers will have no answer for Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum in a potential first-round playoff series.
“Rondo going down is huge for the Lakers, because playoff Rondo, and everyone says it, and I’ve seen it, is a absolute different beast,” Frye said on the NBA Hang Time podcast(h/t ClevelandNation). “I don’t care if anybody agrees or not. I’m telling you this. Playoff Rondo would have been difficult for Damian Lillard or CJ (C.J. McCollum).
“Whichever one he’s guarding. But now that he’s not playing, that’s a tough first-round matchup for the Los Angeles Lakers to go against a physical, battle-tested team. Where, yes, LeBron [James], is the best player on the court and then AD (Anthony Davis). But then on the other side, the Lakers have no answer for CJ and Dame. So, I’m taking my chances.”
Frye isn't the only former NBA player to predict the Blazers would beat the Lakers in a potential first-round series. Just last week, Charles Barkley predicted the Blazers would “upset” them if they're able to secure the eight seed.
Nevertheless, losing veteran guard Rajon Rondo will obviously hurt the Lakers' title chances. Even though Rondo hasn't been putting up high stats this season, he has still played an integral role in coming off the bench. During the first round, Rondo most likely would've started in place for Avery Bradley, and also, he would've provided tons of playoff experience for the Lakers.
As for the Blazers, they're currently 29-37 and ninth in the Western Conference, 3.5 games behind the team in the last playoff spot, the Memphis Grizzlies. The Blazers would need to win a majority of their final eight regular-season games to make the playoffs.