Gilbert Arenas believes Lakers would beat Thunder in NBA Playoffs

Jesse Cinquini
4 Min Read
Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

Former Washington Wizards star floor general Gilbert Arenas thinks that the Los Angeles Lakers would eliminate the Oklahoma City Thunder if the two teams play each other in the first round of the playoffs.

“They do,” Arenas said when asked if the Lakers have another gear they can get to. “It’s all dependent on LeBron [James]. It ain’t the Lakers’ next gear. It’s LeBron’s next gear. It’s all position at this point. Right now we’re at what, the 10th seed? We’ll play, let’s say, Golden State the in-season game. We will beat them. We’re just gonna hit the glass, and A.D. (Anthony Davis) and LeBron attack the rim ’cause they don’t know how to defend the rim at this point. They’re not gonna shoot any free throws.

“Then we’re gonna play, what, between Dallas and Phoenix? And then if we get that eighth seed…”

Shannon Sharpe interrupted Arenas and said the following about the Lakers potentially matching up against the Thunder.

“Oh, you got Shai [Gilgeous-Alexander],” Sharpe interjected. “Oh, if they get — if they get OKC, they’ll beat OKC.”

Arenas agreed with Sharpe’s take.

“In the playoffs?” Arenas said. “Yes sir.”

While the Thunder sit atop the Western Conference standings right now with a 48-20 record, they have far from secured the No. 1 seed in the conference, as the Denver Nuggets are right behind them with a record of 48-21.

Oklahoma City is on a three-game winning streak, which is tied with the New Orleans Pelicans for the second-longest active winning streak of any team in the conference. The Houston Rockets — who are all the way down at the No. 11 seed — have the longest winning streak in the Western Conference right now at six games.

The Thunder are led by Gilgeous-Alexander, who has emerged as one of the best young players in the NBA today. He has appeared in 67 of the Thunder’s 68 regular-season contests and is averaging 30.9 points, 5.6 rebounds and 6.4 assists per game on 54.4 percent shooting from the field and 37.6 percent from 3-point range.

Conversely, the Lakers haven’t had nearly as successful of a regular season as the Thunder. Los Angeles owns the No. 9 seed in the conference and has some ground to cover in order to attain a top-eight seed, as the team is three games back of the Phoenix Suns, who are currently the No. 8 seed.

But arguably the Lakers’ best player in James has much more playoff experience than perhaps the Thunder’s top player in Gilgeous-Alexander. The former has won four NBA titles while the latter has played in just two playoff series and has yet to advance past the first round.

Plus, Gilgeous-Alexander hasn’t played in a playoff series since 2020, when he played alongside Chris Paul on the Thunder.

Considering James has a decisive edge over Gilgeous-Alexander in playoff experience, it’s understandable why Sharpe and Arenas believe the Lakers would eliminate the Thunder.

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Jesse is a sports journalist with extensive experience covering the NBA. He has worked as a staff writer covering the Lakers’ dreaded rivals, the Boston Celtics, for SB Nation. He has also covered the New York Knicks for The Knicks Wall.