The Larry O’Brien Trophy is the most coveted prize in the NBA.
Every season, thirty teams duke it out to be crowned champion. But last year’s race to the NBA Finals has a special place in history.
Following the league’s postponement at the height of COVID-19, commissioner Adam Silver made a decision to finish the season in Disneyland, Florida — a location that became known as the 2020 NBA bubble.
Despite being isolated from fans, basketball continued to be a source of high impact competition during lockdown — and after the tragic shooting of Jacob Blake in August, NBA teams were able to support the Black Lives Matter movement by amplifying calls for change, as well as play an important role in the discussion on racism.
However, in the midst of everything, a champion was crowned: the LA Lakers.
Led by superstar duo LeBron James and Anthony Davis, Lakers beat a gritty Miami Heat side in an emotional display, which honored the legacy of the late great Kobe Bryant.
This win also saw LA return to the pinnacle of basketball, equaling their fierce rivals Boston Celtics all-time record of 17 championships.
But despite experiencing glory, this Lakers team doesn’t portray the same legendary aura of the Kobe and Magic eras. Nor, the nigh-on invincibility of the Golden State Warriors, who have dominated the league in recent memory.
With the NBA set to restart in late December can we expect to see the LA Lakers crowned champion once again when summer rolls around? Whether we’re talking about the NBA, NFL or any other sport it can be hard to predict winners and losers without good research.
Read on as we check the odds and compare the competition to see if LeBron’s leadership can inspire a historic repeat.
What do the betting odds say about the LA Lakers?
Despite being early days in the build-up to the next NBA season, betting odds can be an excellent indicator of a possible championship-winning team.
Take a look at what Bet 365 has to say about the Lakers chances of a repeat:
- LA Lakers: 13/4
- LA Clippers: 11/2
- Milwaukee Bucks: 6/1
- Golden State Warriors: 13/2
And in the spirit of balance here’s what PaddyPower — another highly trusted betting site — thinks too:
- LA Lakers: 7/2
- Milwaukee Bucks: 11/2
- LA Clippers: 11/2
- Golden State Warriors: 7/1
While there are some slight differences between the two sets of odds, one thing stays consistent, both casino sites believe LA Lakers are the overall favorites.
However, keep in mind that the current odds on these sites are mere projections and we’re still a long way from finding out the real result.
If the other teams have anything to say about it, then the Lakers won’t be in for such an easy ride. And because of this, the odds are constantly changing. For the latest figures, we recommend you check out this site to keep tabs on the best casino sites and the most up-to-date projections for the NBA title race. This will give you a much clearer picture once the games start tipping off and results begin coming in thick and fast.
But even then, basketball is a notoriously difficult game to predict, because teams sometimes don’t live up to the hype — and the numbers cannot possibly factor in freak incidents like Kevin Durant’s ACL injury, which set things in motion for Toronto to beat the odds and win in 2019.
How are the Lakers shaping up — can they pull off a repeat?
Why the Lakers had a losing decade
LA Lakers are synonymous with the art of winning and collecting trophies. But over the last decade, we’ve witnessed season after season of substandard basketball
Either because starting line-ups have failed to live up to the lofty expectation — or promising draft picks like Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram have taken too long to develop under the blinding lights of Los Angeles.
At the end of the day, the Lakers are the home of superstars. And that’s why the acquisition of all-time great LeBron James in 2018 got the fanbase rumbling once again.
Yet a mid-season injury to their new star player proved to be a devastating blow, which meant the Lakers missed the playoffs for six years in a row.
How the Lakers won this year
So came about a monster trade which saw young stars Ingram, Ball, and Hart, along with a treasure chest of draft picks head to New Orleans.
In return, the Lakers got Anthony Davis — a near 7-foot power forward who’s been touted as a generational talent since entering the league in 2012.
The prospect of James and Davis playing together was a subject of debate and anticipation. After all, aside from a developing Kyrie Irving or a declining Dwayne Wade, this was going to be the first time we’d see LeBron play alongside a superstar heading into their prime.
When the dust settled, it was more than enough to get the Lakers over the line in 2020. Especially after witnessing the implosion of key rivals like the Clippers and the Bucks early in the playoff bracket.
Although repeating this is difficult to accomplish at the best of times. And the Lakers are far from a perfect team, with many areas to address before the start of next season.
Do we agree that the Lakers are favorites to win next year?
Despite winning last year, we witnessed a string of poor performances in the finals from Danny Green and Kyle Kuzma, along with a bench unit that got decimated by Jimmy Butler and the Heat’s 3-point snipers Tyler Herro and Duncan Robinson.
Free agency will be the biggest telling factor as to whether they can pull it off in 2021.
If the head office fills the squad with reliable shooters, role players who can pivot around Davis and help LeBron out on the offensive end, they have a very good chance of winning.
Do we think the Lakers will repeat? This is a great question!
While the betting odds swing in the LA Lakers favor, we cannot predict a repeat with any real confidence. In our eyes, the competition is far too close to call.
Next year the Milwaukee Bucks are looking to show the league they need to fear the deer, the Clippers need redemption after the cyborg Kawhi Leonard proved he was indeed human, and the Golden State Warriors welcome back Steph and Klay from long term injury.
Regardless of which way it goes, we have a great season on the cards, which could amount to some of the best games the sport has ever seen. Don’t miss it!