May 17, 2021 | 12:14 am EDT Update
Ryan Ward: Jared Dudley on the Lakers trying to win a title as the 7th seed: “It will be the hardest challenge any team has had in NBA history.” CORRECTION: No NBA team lower than the 6th seed has won the title. 5th seed: 1969 Boston Celtics 6th seed: 1995 Houston Rockets
Dave McMenamin: Jared Dudley, without naming names, said teams were “managing” their schedules down the stretch to avoid the Lakers. He thinks it’s a bad strategy: says the Lakers will be most susceptible to an upset in the first round and will only get stronger from there.
Eric Walden: Rudy Gobert, on the play-in tournament: “Those games are gonna be fun to watch. I’m excited to watch those games. And whoever we face, it’s gonna be a long journey, and we’re gonna be ready.”
Rob Schaefer: Billy Donovan described himself as “disappointed” with Bulls missing playoffs with 31-41 record. Said he’s going to assess what he could have done better. Added that the missed opportunities were most difficult thing to overcome. Being close to play-in adds to disappointment.
The executive said since James has been and still is the face of the NBA, he has exceptional clout, that he’s been granted considerably more latitude to complain about officials. “Whatever LeBron wants, LeBron gets,’’ the exec said. “He’s beyond reproach. He really is. And he knows it.’’
While James remains the king of whiners, there may be, according those surveyed, an heir apparent. That’s Luka Doncic, the Dallas Mavericks’ abundantly talented young guard. “Don’t get me started on Doncic,’’ one scout said. “He just doesn’t stop b——g. It’s unbelievable. Every game I’ve scouted, that’s all he does.’’