LA Lakers Futures Odds: The King Is Defying Father Time
There is something about this generation of athletes. The GOATs refuse to give in to Father Time. Roger Federer won a major at 38. Serena Williams won a major at 35 years old while pregnant. Lionel Messi just won the World Cup at 35, and I don’t have to spell out everything the recently retired Tom Brady has accomplished past 40.
Now, it’s The King’s turn to continue the trend.
At 38 years old, LeBron James is having his best scoring season since 2007. He surpassed Steve Nash for fourth on the all-time assists list and is closing in on becoming the all-time leading scorer in the history of the NBA.
In MVP form yet again, King James is carrying a woeful Los Angeles Lakers team this season, averaging 30 points per game. He is the main reason they are still in the hunt for a playoff spot.
2022-2023 Record: 24-28 (13th in West)
Despite sitting in 13th place in the Western Conference, the Lakers are only 2.5 games behind a three-team log jam tied for seventh place, giving them a realistic chance to sneak into a play-in position.
The Lakers might not have to rely on the play-in tournament at all. One good run can propel them into the middle of the West standings, as only four games separate them from the fourth-placed Los Angeles Clippers.
The Lakers have been trending in the right direction as of late, winning 12 of their last 20 games (.600). A big reason is LeBron’s supporting cast finding some consistency. Dennis Schroder is scoring, while Rui Hachimura has fit in seamlessly. Russell Westbrook is the frontrunner for the Sixth Man of the Year (+115), and Anthony Davis has returned from injury.
Don’t be surprised if LA makes a run for the playoffs. I suggest putting a bet on it while you still can at +205. If LeBron and AD can stay healthy, the Lakers will make it.
Pacific Division Winner Odds @ FanDuel
- Sacramento Kings +180
- Golden State Warriors +210
- Phoenix Suns +380
- Los Angeles Clippers +400
- Los Angeles Lakers +2100
While the Lakers can work their way into the playoffs, winning the division is a different story. Their slow start put them in a big hole early on, and although the Sacramento Kings may slip up, it will be hard to catch up to a healthy Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Clippers too.
That being said, only 2.5 games are separating the Lakers from the Phoenix Suns and the Warriors, so +2100 odds, in comparison, is tempting at this point in the season. A bit of luck, coupled with one good run from the Lakers, could put them in the conversation to win the Pacific.
However, I’ll be realistic and say this will not happen. This is the best division in the NBA, and there is a good chance every one of these teams will make the postseason. The Gold and Purple have been abysmal in division games, going 1-9 against the Pacific.
Western Conference Winner Odds @ FanDuel
- Denver Nuggets +350
- Golden State Warriors +370
- Memphis Grizzlies +440
- Los Angeles Clippers +600
- Los Angeles Lakers +2800 (8th)
This is where things get a little spicy. Although their chances at finishing atop the Western Conference in the regular season are over, the Lakers are one team no one wants to play in the playoffs. Not with James playing out of his mind and a healthy AD. This team can beat anyone in the NBA. The last time both were fully healthy and in the playoffs, they won the ‘Chip.
If you believe the Lakers will make the playoffs, I would also sprinkle a little on them to win the West. Once they get there, the team has the talent and experience to do it. It’s not as if the other contenders don’t come with their question marks.
There is no clear-cut favorite. The Denver Nuggets or Golden State would be the most challenging test in a seven-game series…but would you bet against a healthy LeBron and AD? Regardless, +2800 for The King to reach his 11th NBA Finals is too good to pass up.
NBA Championship Winner Odds @ FanDuel
- Los Angeles Lakers +5000 (14th)
It’s been just three years since the bubble championship. Since then, LA has dealt with injury problems and hasn’t had a proper chance at making another run. Last season they failed to make the playoffs because LeBron missed most of the regular season, and the year before, they lost in the first round to eventual finalists, the Suns (AD was injured in Game 3).
You could make a case for the Lakers winning it all this year, but they would have to make the playoffs first. The team is finally starting to build chemistry and find an identity, which could prove vital at the tail end of the season. Players such as Westbrook, Schroder, and Pat Beverley have settled into their roles on the squad, and with the addition of Hachimura, LA is a force to be reckoned with.
I still wouldn’t advise taking them to win the whole thing. The Eastern Conference looks stronger than the West, and three of the four teams at the top of the East have enough experience to beat LeBron and AD in the Finals. If you must bet on the Lakers making a deep run, don’t be greedy, and just take them to win the Western Conference (+2800), coupled with them making the playoffs (+205).
Lakers Upcoming Games
- Feb. 2 @ Pacers
- Feb. 4 @ Pelicans
- Feb. 7 vs. Thunder
With The Brow returning from injury, I want to see LA kick themselves into another gear over their next few games. The role players need to remain consistent, allowing LeBron some time to rest down the stretch. The following month will be crucial for their chances of making the playoffs, as 12 of their next 14 games will be against Western Conference opponents.
Furthermore, 15 of their next 20 games will be against teams above .500. LA has struggled in interconference play this season, as they have a 12-17 record against the West.
Despite being in the midst of a race for the playoffs, there is one game circled on the calendar over the next few weeks: their home game against OKC on Feb. 7. That is the day LeBron is projected to make history by passing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to become the NBA’s all-time leading scorer.