Former Lakers star player and general manager Jerry West said he believes… (Vernon Biever / Getty Images )
Former Lakers star and general manager Jerry West told ESPNNewYork.com he's still confident in his former team.
"I believe they're going to make the playoffs," West said of the Lakers (23-26). "Look out West, there are some teams two or three games over .500, so they can do it."
Of course those comments came before Tuesday night's victory over the Brooklyn Nets in which Pau Gasol went down with a foot injury. The results of a MRI scheduled for Wednesday have yet to be released.
Naturally the Lakers will have other issues if Gasol is sidelined for any significant period.
"Their biggest issue has been defensively," said West. "But I think they're playing better defensively now, and Kobe [Bryant's] play has been extraordinary, the way he's not shooting as much and getting other people involved."
If the Lakers are healthy and do make the postseason, West said they're a team to consider.
"Nobody is going to want to play them in the first round," he said. "With the veterans the Lakers have, I don't think it's going to make a big difference to them if they creep in as the six, seven or eight [seed]. In the playoffs, they're going to be dangerous."
The Lakers are currently 7½ games behind the Golden State Warriors (30-18, sixth place), which West serves as a consultant.
Seventh or eighth place will still take some doing with the Lakers four games back of the Utah Jazz and 3½ behind the Houston Rockets.
The Lakers need to outpace at least two teams to make the postseason. The Portland Trail Blazers (25-23) are in ninth place, 2½ games ahead.
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