It’s never too early to look ahead to next June and who could be holding the Larry O’Brien trophy as NBA champion.
DraftKings, one of the prominent national sportsbooks, has revealed its pre-pre-season odds on who wins the NBA title in 2022-2023.
The Lakers are the 12th team on the board. Here are some odds for prominent teams, including NBA title odds for the Clippers:
- Nets: +500
- Warriors: +500
- Clippers: +600
- Celtics: +600
- Suns: +700
- Bucks: +700
- Heat: +1,100
- 76ers: +1,400
- Mavericks: +1,400
- Grizzlies: +1,600
- Nuggets: +1,700
- Lakers: +2,200
Can the Lakers really win their 18th NBA title next year? They don’t even have a coach right now. Let’s look at reasons to believe and not.
Reasons to believe in the Lakers
While the Lakers continue to look for a coach, they still possess one of the best – if not the best – player in LeBron James. Pair him up with freak big man Anthony Davis and the Lakers have an unstoppable 1-2 tandem.
The optimist has to think that a new coach, whoever they may be, will inject some new life in the Lakers. The biggest issue is for that coach to find a role for beleaguered guard Russell Westbrook. Can he/she convince Westbrook to come off the bench and be Mr. Instant Offense? Can they make him happy in his role?
The Lakers could also find a way via their mid-level exception to keep shooting guard Malik Monk. They need his athleticism and youth.
The Lakers just won the NBA title in 2020. It’s not like they don’t know how. The biggest thing they need to do next year is making the playoffs. No one wants to play a healthy LeBron and Davis in a seven-game series. Not even Golden State.
So while the Lakers’ NBA title odds may seem too short at first glance, one can see why they are still in the picture.
Reasons to not believe in the Lakers
Everyone is hurt all the time. It’s not like suddenly James (age 37) and Davis (29) will magically now be healthier as they get older.
My knees tell me this every day; that’s not how it works.
Davis missed half of the 2021-2022 season and hasn’t played a full season in the NBA since 2017-2018 with the New Orleans Pelicans. Some of this is bad luck, but at some point, injury-prone is what you are.
LeBron only played in 56 games last year, and maybe the NBA miles are finally catching up to him. Of course, he only (sarcasm) averaged 30.3 points last year. When he wants to be, he’s unstoppable. I think he still wants to be, but he also likes to have help these days.
If James and Davis can’t stay healthy, the Lakers can’t win 45-50 games in the regular season and make the playoffs.
Eyes on the board
It’s fascinating to see the Brooklyn Nets as the top choice in 2022-2023, when they didn’t even win a first-round game in this year’s playoffs, but the sportsbook likes the talent they have with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. Understandable.
On paper, and in the sportsbooks, they are the best team. Golden State may be aging, but they’re flying right now, so they are the second choice.
(Again, this is the best future model for the Lakers, be just healthy enough to make the playoffs, and then unleash hell).
Then the Clippers. Los Angeles’ other NBA franchise got bounced in the play-in tournament by the Pelicans. When healthy, they possess an incredible roster with Paul George and Kawhi Leonard. Plus, they have a coach in Tyronn Lue. That’s more than the Lakers can say right now.
There’s also a clear delineation of tiers on the DraftKings future board. The Lakers are No. 12 at +2200, and then there is a huge drop-off to No. 13, the Utah Jazz at +4,000. The Thunder, Magic and Rockets are the last teams at +100,000.