Ranking the Nuggets' potential first-round playoff matchups from easiest to hardest

Phoenix Suns v Golden State Warriors
Phoenix Suns v Golden State Warriors / Lachlan Cunningham/GettyImages
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5th Hardest: Los Angeles Lakers

People may think this is a crazy choice as well considering the Lakers made the conference finals last season and still have LeBron James and Anthony Davis on their team. They’ve led this team to a championship (albeit in the bubble) within recent memory, and their ceiling is obviously high.

But at what point do we just accept this matchup for what it is? The Nuggets own the Lakers. They swept them last season and they’d likely do it again. Sure, many of the games are close, but it’s not a coincidence that Denver consistently outperforms them and pulls away in crunch time.

Every game plays out in a similar fashion, and every time people convince themselves the end result will be different. The Nuggets are just the better team at this point on both ends of the floor. AD doesn’t seem to want to guard Jokic and Rui Hachimura is too small. They don’t have anyone who can contain Murray on the perimeter either.

On the other end, Aaron Gordon can do a solid job on LeBron and the Lakers don’t have enough outside shooting to make Jokic work too hard. So while the Lakers have more pedigree than many of the teams on this list, we already know what this series looks like, and it doesn’t end well for them.