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Los Angeles Lakers Betting Outlook
Western NBA Conference Odds: +125
Preseason NBA Championship Odds: +250
The defending NBA champions are considered a good bet to repeat, especially with all the important pieces back and some new additions to the rotation. LeBron James and Anthony Davis look like a solid duo for years to come after both recently signed new deals, and the team chemistry from last season’s championship run should continue.
The biggest question mark could be fatigue, especially for James, who at 35, will be playing following the shortest offseason in league history. Coach Frank Vogel may try to accommodate that with more rest during the regular season to have James prepared for the postseason. Incorporating some of the new pieces will be a work in progress as well, with such a truncated preseason, but come the postseason, the Lakers should be ready to defend their title.
The problem with trying to figure out the over/under pick for the Lakers is that they do have some younger players that will be playing every game of the season. The thought last season was that James would be resting from time to time during the regular season to rest up for the postseason. But Los Angeles ended up with the best record in the West anyway.
Lakers 2021 Predictions
Regular Season Record: 55-17
Conference Standing: First
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James continues to defy aging, leading the NBA in assists last season at 34. James is a constant triple-double threat, and his leadership makes the Lakers a better team than their talent level. James has bought into the defensive philosophy of Frank Vogel as well, helping to set the tone on both ends of the floor for Los Angeles.
Anthony Davis was a hit in his first season with the Lakers, helping lead the team to the NBA title with clutch scoring, rebounding and defense. Davis can be a relentless rebounder and can score from anywhere on the floor. And his defensive prowess is underrated, with his ability to guard on the perimeter as well as protect the rim.
Los Angeles Lakers Team History
The Los Angeles Lakers are one of the NBA’s premier franchises, having won 17 league titles since their establishment in 1947 as the Minneapolis Lakers. Led by Hall of Fame center George Mikan, the team won five NBA titles before moving West to Los Angeles in 1960.
The success continued to an extent in California, as the Lakers made the NBA Finals seven times before finally breaking through with their first title after the move in 1972. That squad was led by a Hall of Fame duo of guard Jerry West and center Wilt Chamberlain and set a then-league record winning 33 consecutive games.The team also set a league mark by winning 69 regular-season contests, a record that would stand until the Chicago Bulls won 72 in the 1995-96 campaign.
Another Hall of Fame duo, center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and guard Earvin “Magic” Johnson, were the mainstays of the 1980s Lakers. They made the NBA Finals eight times in 10 years, winning five titles.
It would be more than a decade before Los Angeles won another title, but then it was three in a row in 2000-02, with another Hall of Fame combo, guard Kobe Bryant and center Shaquille O’Neal. O’Neal was traded but Bryant teamed with Pau Gasol to help Los Angeles to three straight Finals appearances from 2008-10, winning titles in the last two.
The Lakers’ 17th world championship came in 2019-20, with LeBron James and Anthony Davis teaming to lead Los Angeles over Miami in the NBA Finals played in the bubble in Orlando, Fl.
The rivalry with the Boston Celtics is the most storied in league history, with the teams squaring off in NBA Finals 12 times. Johnson and Larry Bird’s individual rivalry in the 1980s rejuvenated the once-floundering league into the worldwide phenomenon it is today. The teams met for the title three times in the decade, bringing the rivalry back to the biggest stage after a 15-year absence.
Los Angeles has had Hall of Fame coaches, most notably Pat Riley, who led the “Showtime” Lakers of the 1980s to four titles, and Phil Jackson, who was at the helm for the team’s five championships between 2000-10.
There have also been multiple Lakers Hall of Famers, with 26 players enshrined in Springfield, Ma. Notables among that group include Elgin Baylor, Gail Goodrich, James Worthy and Jamaal Wilkes.
James’ second year with the Lakers was expected to be special with the addition of Davis. Los Angeles was one of the favorites to win the NBA title from the outset though there was doubt if the Lakers had enough talent outside of the All-Star duo to win the team’s 17th title.
One of the top defenses in the league helped the Lakers to the top of the Western Conference standings, which is where they sat when the NBA had to suspend play due to the coronavirus pandemic on March 11. They were at the top of the conference despite the franchise going through the emotional rollercoaster that resulted after the sudden untimely death of Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter, and seven others in a helicopter accident on Jan. 26.
Once the league resumed on July 30., the Lakers played just well enough in the last eight regular-season games to maintain their top seeding, going 3-5. That top seeding won them a date with the red-hot Portland Trail Blazers in the first round of the playoffs.
Portland stunned the Lakers in the opening game of the seven-game series, but Los Angeles bounced back to take the next four games and advance to the next round. Waiting were the Houston Rockets, who also won the series opener against the Lakers but also lost the next four games to drop the series.
In the Western Conference Finals, Los Angeles faced third-seeded Denver. Behind 31.2 points a game from Davis and two triple-doubles from James, the Lakers defeated the Nuggets in five games to advance to the NBA Finals for the first time since 2010. It was James’ 10th appearance in the Finals, tying him for third all-time.
In the Finals, the Miami Heat put up some fight, but the Lakers ended up winning the series in six games, punctuated by a Game 6 victory that saw Los Angeles up by 28 at halftime and never threatened. James won his fourth NBA title and fourth NBA Finals MVP award, becoming the first player to win that award and titles with three different franchises.
Montrezl Harrell, forward, LA Clippers
Marc Gasol, center, Toronto Raptors
Wesley Matthews, guard, Milwaukee Bucks
Dennis Schroder, guard, Oklahoma City Thunder
Key Subtractions (include head coach if applicable)
Danny Green, guard, Oklahoma City Thunder
Dwight Howard, center, Philadelphia 76ers
Rajon Rondo, guard, Atlanta Hawks
Zavier Simpson, guard, Michigan
Frank Vogel has spent one season as the head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers and already has one world championship. The 47-year-old became the 27th head coach of the franchise after previous stints with the Indiana Pacers and Orlando Magic.
Vogel has a career record of 356-310 in nine seasons as an NBA head coach. He led the Pacers to the playoffs in five of his six seasons, including Eastern Conference Finals appearances in 2013 and ‘14. Vogel went 54-110 in two seasons with the Orlando Magic, failing to reach the postseason in both campaigns.
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