NBA Picks: 2010-11 Los Angeles Lakers Predictions and Preview with Futures Odds
by Nicholas Tolomeo - 10/8/2010
The media storm around the Miami Heat all offseason could not have been better news for the two-time defending champion Los Angeles Lakers. Not only are the Lakers being somehow overlooked for a team who has reached three consecutive NBA Finals, but Kobe Bryant and company are coming into the year with a chip on their collective shoulders as all the attention is on the Miami Heat trio.
The concerns around the Lakers are the usual, age and health. Kobe Bryant is now 32 and had offseason knee surgery. Lamar Odom will turn 31 in the first week of the season and Andrew Bynum will miss the first month of the season as he rehabs his right knee after surgery of his own.
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But they are still the Lakers and they overcome these issues before. Pau Gasol is healthy after resting this offseason and passing on the FIBA World Championships. And the Lakers front office made the right offseason moves by bringing in vital role players that fans in Los Angeles have become accustomed to.
Bryant averaged 27 points per game last season but he was just one of five Lakers to average in double figures for points with Gasol (18.3), Bynum (15), Artest (11) and Odom (10.8). Artest went into the offseason with all the momentum in the world after his NBA Finals performance when he scored 20 points in Game 7, including the dagger, a three-pointer later in the game. This season Artest switches to number 15, the same number he wore in college at St. Johns.
The Los Angeles Lakers schedule starts on NBA opening night Tuesday, Oct. 26, when the defending champions host Houston. Six of the Lakers first eight games are home, but they are scheduled for two seven-game road trips this season, one in December and another in February.
Los Angeles Lakers Preview: Offseason Moves
Los Angeles adds another ferocious defender with the acquisition of Matthew Barnes, who was all but signed by the Toronto Raptors before things fell apart at the last second. Barnes and Artest give the Lakers two of the top defensive players in the entire league. The Lakers lose Josh Powell (Atlanta) and D.J. Mbenga (Denver), but they add center Theo Ratliff (San Antonio). They resigned Derek Fisher, ending any speculation he could be the next big name headed to South Beach, and brought the serviceable Steve Blake onboard.
Add in second-round NBA Draft picks Devin Ebanks (West Virginia) and Derrick Caracter (UTEP), and the Lakers were anything but idle this offseason.
2010-11 Los Angeles Lakers Futures Odds
The Los Angeles Lakers NBA odds to win a third-consecutive NBA title are +300, second best in the league behind only Miami (+170). They are clear-cut favorites to win the Western Conference, priced at -130 and their odds just to reach the Western Conference Finals are -225. NBA odds are courtesy of BetUS.
2010-11 Los Angeles Lakers NBA Picks and Predictions
The Miami Heat made the big splash with their free agent signings, but that is certainly an unconventional way to go about building a team. The Lakers went with a tried-and-true process of keeping the core intact and adding role players who do not mind being role players. This formula has equaled three consecutive trips to the NBA Finals and it is tough to imagine anyone in the Western Conference ending that streak. The issues of health should be no more come the second month of the season, and the issue of age and experience could end up being the difference for the Lakers in the playoffs. This NBA title is the Lakers to lose and the fact they are not the favorites increases the value even more.
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