League Pass power rankings: Keeping an eye on Bucks and Lakers

Published May 10, 2021, 7:30 AMJon Carlos Rodriguez

Five teams you need to watch out for this week as the postseason approaches.

Anthony Davis and the Los Angeles Lakers need to gain momentum ahead of the playoffs.

This week’s League Pass power rankings feature the Wizards, Blazers, Lakers, Mavericks, and Bucks. Check out the previous edition here.

Washington Wizards

The Washington Wizards are making it easy to be a watchable team.

On one hand you have Bradley Beal, who’s in a pound-for-pound matchup with Steph Curry for the scoring title. On any given night, Beal can heat up and drop a huge number of points in ways the league hasn’t sat down on and tried to stop.

This season, only Beal, Curry, and Jayson Tatum have scored multiple 50-point games.

On the other you have Russell Westbrook, who’s in a battle with himself to find out the extreme capabilities of an athlete. Where that battle has taken him is to a place where only he and Oscar Robertson occupy.

Combine that and you get a Wizards team that have won 12 of their last 15 with a ticket to the play-in tournament. 

Portland Trail Blazers

This season has been up-and-down for the Portland Trail Blazers, and they’ve found the right position to be in at the right time.

Coming off a huge win against the Los Angeles Lakers, the Blazers climbed up to the sixth spot in the Western Conference. Looking at the standings in the West, that sixth spot is paradise.

After a stinker of a five-game stretch in mid-April, the Blazers have won seven of their last eight. Damian Lillard is hyper aware of the time, CJ McCollum is still nasty, and everyone from Enes Kanter to Carmelo Anthony have been killing it in their respective assignments. 

This kind of momentum should not be taken like lightly, as former NBA champion and current Trail Blazer Norman Powell has learned.

Los Angeles Lakers

With a week left in the regular season, the defending champions Los Angeles Lakers is must-watch basketball.

One of the reasons why is the fact that the Lakers are currently out of the top six guaranteed playoff slots, which means it’s war. 

A team as fun as the Lakers will now have to fight their way back to the top of the Western Conference, and if that involves getting their hands dirty and their noses bloodied via the play-in tournament, then so be it. 

Another reason is Anthony Davis, who after missing a bunch of games, is on the clock to return to his old dominating ways. Without LeBron James and Dennis Schroder, AD needs to bring his team right back to elite status because he has no other choice.

A limping Lakers team backed into a corner with their hopes pinned on a superstar who he himself is struggling to stay healthy? This is a movie.

Dallas Mavericks

The Dallas Mavericks, despite injuries to Kristaps Porzingis, are fifth in the Western Conference. That’s quite a feat.

But win-loss standings aside, the Mavericks are high on League Pass rankings simply because of Luka Magic. 

There’s just a mesmerizing glow in every Luka Doncic stepback and in every Luka Doncic no-look pass. His highlights reel you in and you either come out entertained or hungry for more.

With the playoffs fast approaching, Luka’s spider sense for clutch moments is tingling and it would be a mistake to miss the action from here on out. 

Milwaukee Bucks

The Milwaukee Bucks are not the most exciting team to talk about and it’s not their fault.
Their version of a Big 3 in Giannis Antetokoumpo, Jrue Holiday, and Khris Middleton don’t have the same electrifying vibe of your favorite Big 3. 

What the Bucks lack in flash though, they make up for in gang beating-your-team-up. The Big 3 will get the majority of the touches, but Milwaukee heavily relies on the collective effort of their role players who have become scary dedicated in fulfilling their respective roles.

Bryn Forbes and Pat Connaughton will hurt you with 3s if you let them. Donte DiVincenzo and Bobby Portis will do the dirty work. Brook Lopez, aside from also hurting you with 3s, might just troll your highlight.

All these, done at a consistent and highly efficient rate, have flung the Bucks to third in the East, with a clear shot at taking the second spot from the Brooklyn Nets.

It’s easy to sleep on the Bucks because of their style—or lack thereof—which may have been why they were able to steadily climb up the standings with almost little resistance. 

If you lead the league in scoring, and if we can all agree that scoring is fun, then the Bucks should definitely be one of the League Pass favorites.

Catch these teams' games on League Pass for only P485 per month by subscribing with Smart Signature! Know more at smart.com.ph/nbaleaguepass.