LeBron James has arrived in Los Angeles so the Lakers' fans have every
reason to be excited about the upcoming NBA season that tips-off this
Tuesday, October 16th, 2018. After another disappointing season, the
Los Angeles Lakers missed the playoffs last year for the fifth season
in a row, finishing 11th in the Western Conference and 3rd in the
Pacific Division with a 35-47 record.
When everyone thought this will be another painful campaign for the
16-time NBA Championship winners, the King has decided to move his
talents to the west and join one of the most popular teams in the
With LeBron, the Lakers are already a strong contender, so strong that
many online spsortsbooks are giving them great odds to make the finals.
(Check out BettingTop10 USA to find out who has the best odds)
Since he arrival to the NBA back in 2003, LeBron James has won three
NBA championships, two with the Miami Heat and one with the Cleveland
Cavaliers, and lost six NBA Finals including the last season's clash to
the Golden State Warriors. The King has played in eight consecutive NBA
Finals starting from the 2010-11 season, his first with the Heat, so
the Lakers' fans are certainly hoping that the streak will continue.
With Bron wearing the purple and gold jersey, the Lakers instantly
became the fourth-strongest favorite to win the championship this
season with the odds at +1200, and only the Warriors, the Celtics, and
the Rockets have better chances at raising the Championship Trophy. The
Los Angeles Lakers won their last title in 2010 when Kobe Bryant was at
his peak, so we can consider LeBron James as Kobe's successor.
When you acquire the 14-time All-Star who won three championships,
three NBA Finals MVP awards, and four MVP Awards, you just have to be
considered as one of the biggest favorites to win the league. LeBron
James is undoubtedly one of the greatest basketball players ever, so
many expect to see miracles in his first season as a Laker, especially
knowing that he played every game last season (at age 33), showing no
signs of slowing down.
Last year, James had some excellent numbers, tallying 27.5 points, 8.6
rebounds, and 9.1 assists per game during the regular season on 54.2%
shooting from the field, while he averaged 34.0 points, 9.1 rebounds,
and 9.0 assists during the playoffs on 53.9% shooting from the field.
Young, talented core is still here
This summer, the Lakers wanted to get another superstar alongside
LeBron James, but they couldn't make the move, as they didn't want to
trade young players away. Paul George was inked with the Lakers, in a
move that meant the Lakers had to give up some of their young core.
Instead, the Lakers decided to keep their talented core and see what
they are capable of when playing around LeBron. There is no doubt that
James will make this young Lakers team even better, a fact that was
best seen during the preseason games.
Lonzo Ball will enter his sophomore season after recording 10.2 points,
6.9 rebounds, and 7.2 assists per game on 36.0% shooting from the field
last season, and the Lakers hope he will continue to improve. Brandon
Ingram had a breakthrough campaign last year with 16.1 points, 5.3
rebounds, and 3.9 assists, so he should be even better in his third
season in the league. Kyle Kuzma is another hot prospect who had a
great rookie season, averaging 16.1 points and 6.3 rebounds per game on
45.0% shooting from the field last year.
These guys will have a nice chance to prove their worth to the team and
assure their spots in the Lakers' roster, as LeBron's presence should
only help them to grow as players. However, the Lakers acquired some
experienced players this summer to fortify the roster, so the head
coach Luke Walton should need some time to gel the things. Hereof, the
Lakers could have some problems at the start of the season, but they
should develop throughout the season to play their best basketball when
Rajon Rondo joined the Lakers after a great season in New Orleans where
he averaged 8.3 points and 8.2 assists in 26.2 minutes per game, and
the one-time NBA champion could be a crucial addition, as Lonzo Ball is
still too young to lead the team as the starting PG. Lance Stephenson's
versatility could be quite important, while Michael Beasley's offensive
talent should be a significant reinforcement. B-Easy averaged 13.2
points on 50.7% shooting from the field last year with the New York
Knicks in just 22.3 minutes per game. JaVale McGee is another veteran
who joined the Lakers this summer, and the 10-year experienced big man
should have an important role off the bench.
The competition in the west promises a great battle
We saw a thrilling race for the playoff berths in the Western
Conference last season, and the Lakers will make this battle even more
interesting in this term. They are considered as +700 favorites to
reach the Finals, a goal that will not be easy to accomplish, by any
means. Especially knowing that their competition are the Golden State
Warriors, Houston Rockets, Oklahoma City Thunder, Utah Jazz, and
Minnesota Timberwolves, while the Pelicans, the Nuggets, the Spurs, and
the Trail Blazers will all try to make it to the post-season.
Therefore, the Lakers could see a tough combat even with LeBron James
on their side, while the bookies believe the Lakers will certainly
reach the playoffs, setting the odds at -600. Last year, the Lakers
were 43-39 ATS, but this time, they will be favorites in most of the
games which pretty much changes the situation. They played some poor
defense, allowing 109.6 points per game to their opponents (25th in the
league) while scoring 108.1 points per contest (11th in the league).
The Lakers had the second-fastest pace in the NBA with 100.3
possessions per 48 minutes, but I think their tempo will slow down a
bit in this campaign. Likewise, the Lakers should play a more
responsible defense than they did last year.
If they find the right rhythm and stay healthy for the most of the
regular season, the Lakers should clinch the playoff berth and probably
surpass the 48-win mark. I don't think they have enough quality to top
the conference or win the championship, but the Lakers will most likely
be one of the most exciting teams to watch this year.