The Los Angeles Lakers are just a few days away from their first preseason game, and there is a newfound optimism surrounding them as they progress through training camp.
But outside of the organization, everyone still seems to be counting out Los Angeles.
Many feel the best it can do, even if they stay fully healthy, is to be a play-in tournament team in the always-loaded Western Conference.
ESPN is expecting just that for the Lakers, as it has predicted they will win just 36.8 games this season and finish ninth (subscription required to view full article).
Writer Kevin Pelton used a stats-based model to make his predictions, which is always problematic, as some aspects of players and teams, both positive and negative, don't show up in numbers or formulas.
It should be noted that this same article also predicted the defending NBA champion Golden State Warriors will also fall into the play-in tournament, so its projections should be taken with a grain of salt.
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Story originally appeared on LeBron Wire