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Los Angeles Lakers Season Preview

   Los Angeles Lakers Season Preview

Los Angeles Lakers Season Preview

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 league.

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 usalegalbetting.com 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 it's needed.

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.

By Admir Aljic

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