Nick Wright Shocks World, Picks LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers

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LeBron James must suffer through the indignity of playing in the NBA's playoff qualifier. Two straight losses will mean an early and embarrassing elimination, even if the forces of nature and a shortened offseason put the Los Angeles Lakers in a tough, perhaps insurmountable situation. But all is not lost!

A healthy James and a healthy Anthony Davis is something a responsible person should not bet against. No one will be surprised if the Lakers emerge as the eventual repeat champion. No one less so than FOX Sports' Nick Wright, one of the most vocal and unflinching James fans on the planet.

Was not expecting a Matlock reference today. By the way, did you know the Andy Griffith vehicle aired its finale a month before Michael Jordan won his second NBA title? Makes you think. It was so long ago that I remember it being one of the four options available at any given time without cable. Not exactly in the wheelhouse for a child seeking out cartoons.

While no one should be surprised that Wright is still firmly in the We Believe camp, it does feel just a bit hollow to be beating chests over a play-in game victory. Not to devalue it or anything, but even a victory against the Warriors won't erase the hole Los Angeles had helped dig this season. It's also not completely true that playoff LeBron ultimately has the last laugh. Cursory research reveals that happens only about a quarter of the time.

Having said all that, it does feel damn good to hear someone say this. Because it's what I think will happen too. The Lakers will survive this scare, right the ship, and topple the Brooklyn Nets in the Finals. It will be James' masterpiece. With a larger platform and ability to draw more interest, Wright can take the spotlight off of me for making such a bold prediction. Selfless.