One of the annual public teams that casual bettors may want to take a position on is the LA Lakers. No sport is as star-dominated as professional basketball, and LeBron James’ move to the City of Angels has made the Lakers an even more public team than they typically are.
Unfortunately, the Lakers have proven to be a huge disappointment, both in a pure basketball sense and in handicapping ROI.
The Lakers Do Not Resemble a Team That Had Great NBA Championship Odds
Andrew and I don’t talk much on The Lion’s Edge about the NBA during the preseason, in September and October, since most of the questions we get are centered around the opening month of college football and the NFL.
Still, I distinctly remember mentioning during one segment that I would stay away from the Lakers this year for futures bets and in early single-game straight bets. I felt confident that the marketplace would price the Lakers too high for any strong plays. What I couldn’t have foreseen is just how good LeBron would continue to be, as well as how poorly the entire rest of the team would play around him.
You’d be forgiven for thinking that the immortal LeBron James – who is somehow now in his 19th year in the league – might see just the slightest drop in his play in this 2022 season.
But you’d be wrong. For the month of December alone, LeBron averaged 31 points, nine rebounds, and 6.5 assists per game, with an additional 1.6 steals and 1.4 blocks chipped in. He shot 56 percent from the floor, including 40 percent shooting from beyond the arc.
That level of scoring and efficiency, on a team that started the season with the second-best NBA championship odds in the entire sport, should have the Lakers in prime position with All-Star Weekend on the horizon.
Instead, the Lakers are clinging to a playoff position in the annual tangled mess of mid-level Western Conference playoff teams, with the Nuggets, Timberwolves and Clippers all within one game of LeBron’s Lakers.
If you have a spare afternoon, I could explain everything that’s gone wrong for the Lake Show so far. The short version: no draft capital, few trade assets, an underperforming Anthony Davis and free agent departures that were just a tad more valuable than the organization may have initially suspected.
Oh, yeah. And Westbrook. There’s also that.
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The end result is a perpetually disappointing team that’s 17-24 against the spread, which is among the five worst records in the NBA. (Other teams on that list: Houston, Atlanta, Portland, Brooklyn.)
What’s worse is that the team is basically one LeBron injury away from quickly falling out of playoff contention. And a real LeBron injury – once thought to be a mythical creature like Sasquatch or the Chupacabra – is no longer merely a theoretical event. I mean… the guy is 37, after all.
It’s a shame the Lakers have been this bad. Much like Tom Brady on the football side of things, LeBron James continues to post completely unprecedented numbers for a guy with this many career minutes logged. LeBron might be past his prime, but he’s still putting up prime numbers.
It’s a shame that it’s all wasted on a team that might not even make the playoffs, let alone compete for a championship. If there’s any bright side, it’s that you can head over to your favorite online sportsbook and fade the Lakers. More often than not, you’re probably going to come out ahead.