Los Angeles Lakers - 2008 Team Preview - Betting Odds
by Jason of Predictem.com
2007 Record: 57-25 (47-33-1 ATS)
Head Coach: Phil Jackson
Assistant Coach’s: Frank Hamblen, Kurt Rambis, Brian Shaw, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Craig Hodges, and Jim Cleamons
Home Court: Staples Center
Projected Starting Lineup:
Center: Andrew Bynum
Forward: Lamar Odom
Forward: Pau Gasol
Guard: Derek Fisher
Guard: Kobe Bryant
Current NBA Championship Odds: 2.5-1 at Sportsbook.com
The beginning of the season for the Lakers was dominated by the fact that Kobe almost became a member of the Bulls and the Lakers would not pull the trigger on the Jason Kidd trade because they would not give up C Andrew Bynum. The Lakers began the season well, but then things got much better when they picked up Pau Gasol for virtually nothing. The Lakers lost Bynum to an injury, but Kobe and Gasol propelled the Lakers to the finals where they would lose to the Celtics in 6 games.
Who’s In/Who’s Out
In the off-season the Lakers added free agents G Dwayne Mitchell, and F Josh Powell and drafted G Sun Yue. The team lost G-F Ira Newble, and F-C Ronny Turiaf, who bailed as free agents.
Scoring should be no problem in La La land this season with Bryant (28.3 ppg), Gasol (18.9 ppg), and Odom (14.2 ppg). Last year the Lakers ranked 4th in points scored (108.58 ppg) and 3rd in FG% (47.6%). Bynum even averaged 13.1 ppg last year before he got hurt and that should improve this year. Even off the bench the Lakers can get some offense with the reserves of F Vladimir Radmanovic (8.4 ppg), Sasha Vujacic (8.8 ppg), Luke Walton (7.2 ppg), and especially Jordan Farmer (9.1 ppg), who is a rising star. The Lakers will have no problem filling it up this year, as they should even be better if Bynum stays healthy the whole season.
Last year the Lakers ranked 6th in defensive efficiency, but their D killed them against the Celtics in the finals, as with Bynum out they did not have an inside presence. The Lakers ranked 8th in rebounding differential (+1.35), but were better than that with Bynum on the court. The team can hit the boards hard, especially the trio of Bynum (10.2 rpg), Lamar Odom (10.6 rpg), and Gasol (8.4 rpg). Bryant is one of the best defenders in the league, as is Derek Fisher on the perimeter. The key for the Lakers D this season is a healthy Bynum in the paint.
Strengths of the Lakers, lets just say they have quite a few. They are one of the best scoring teams in the league, play good D, have great depth, and have the reigning MVP in Bryant. The Lakers can light up the scoreboard and play great D, which equals a lot of wins. The bench depth is great, as they have several players that can come in off the bench and score. The Zen master Phil Jackson has even talked about brining in Odom off the bench as their 6th man.
If the Lakers have any weakness it is their inside chemistry. Gasol will have to learn how to play with fellow 7-footer Bynum, who will take up a lot of inside space. This will basically be the first season these 2 have played together. Gasol will be used on the perimeter when Bynum is in the game and down low when he is out. If the Lakers can figure out how to play together down low, which should not be to hard with Jackson at the helm, watch out for the Lakers this season.
Betting Odds and Projections
The skys the limit for the Lakers this season, as they are stacked and Bynum is healthy. Sportsbook.com has them as the favorite to win it all at 2.5/1, which is a good bet, as they have the most talented and deep team in the league. They are listed at +/- 54.5 there too, which is wager to jump on NOW!! The Lakers had 57 wins last season and they should improve on that with Bynum in the lineup and a whole season with Gasol. 54.5? Are you kidding me, Im betting the house on that. If the Lakers can keep everyone healthy and their front court can learn how to play together the team will be having another parade in Hollywood after the season to celebrate yet another title in Tinseltown.