The Los Angeles Lakers defied the odds last season to reach the Conference Finals as the Western Conference’s seventh seed.
While their journey ended in a sweep, the team now looks poised to be one of the favorites in what should be an incredibly competitive and difficult conference.
Fans and bettors are eying the odds for next season for the Lakers to win, and there are good reasons to be optimistic about this team.
The Lakers have so much potential thanks to star talent and incredible depth, so let’s look at five reasons sports bettors and Lakers lovers should be excited about this team.
1) LeBron James is Still LeBron James
The Lakers are priced at one of the best odds to win next season with odds of +1500, according to NBA.com. The obvious reason for that is LeBron James. James showed in his 20th season that he is still an elite force, averaging over 27 points and more than seven rebounds and seven assists.
Entering a season when he will turn 39, LeBron is still one of the league’s singular talents. While he doesn’t have the sheer takeover ability, he sees the game so well that he can still be a top-ten player next year.
2) Anthony Davis Looked Dominant in the Playoffs
The biggest reason that many sports betting sites are so high on the Lakers is likely how Anthony Davis looked in the playoffs. After several years in a row being marred by injuries, Davis showed he is still an elite superstar. He was a force on both sides of the ball, averaging 22.6 points, 14.1 rebounds, and 3.1 blocks.
Davis showed that he can still be a centerpiece for an elite defense and an offensive player who gives the other team nightmares. Davis is still 30 and should be in his prime.
3) Austin Reaves Has Another Level to Hit
It felt like everything changed for the Lakers when Austin Reaves was given a bigger role in the rotation. He became a major player in the second half for the Lakers, coinciding with the best run of the Lakers’ season. In the playoffs, he averaged a hair under 17 points and showcased excellent three-point shooting and playmaking.
He is a competitor who doesn’t shy away from the big moments and has the skill set to be an ideal third option for the team. Fans and bettors will take note, considering Reaves is just entering his third year and could take another step forward for the team.
4) Solid Depth Additions This Offseason
The Lakers have been maligned by fans for their offseasons in recent years, but this offseason proved to be a solid one. The Lakers made smart, disciplined moves, adding role players and young depth pieces with solid upside.
This offseason, the Lakers have added Gabe Vincent from the Miami Heat on a reasonable deal and signed Taurean Prince, Cam Reddish, and Jaxson Hayes. They’ve made savvy, team-oriented moves that real competitors make. They also re-signed their young, talented pieces, with Rui Hachimura and Austin Reaves signing extensions.
5) Another Year for the Team to Gel
Last year was a tale of two seasons for the Lakers. They endured a rough first half, where Russel Westbrook drew media attention, and Austin Reaves didn’t see much of the court. But in the second half, they added DeAngelo Russell, Rui Hachimura, and Jared Vanderbilt, traded away Westbrook, and gave Austin Reaves minutes.
That team immediately went on a strong run. Now, instead of starting with this team in the middle of the season, they have a whole offseason to further gel and improve together.
With excellent momentum from the Conference Finals appearance, they will be a dangerous, improved squad.