Expert Handicapping for the Anthony Davis Trade to the Lakers
The immediate impact of the trade that sent Anthony Davis to the Lakers is clear. Before the trade, the team was at +1000 to win the NBA title at BetOnline - a ridiculous price given the turmoil and uncertainty around them. Now they are the clear favorites at +350, ahead of Milwaukee at +700 and Houston at +900, with both recent NBA finalists at +1000. That price is even more ridiculous for L.A. than the earlier one, but you can always be sure that bettors won't use their brains when it comes to the Lakers, or to LeBron - so both together are a recipe for disaster.
But while this reaction is too extreme, there is no denying that this is a very significant move, and it reshapes much of what we thought about the upcoming NBA season. And it's only just begun. We already had so much uncertainty around so many teams, but this move means the Lakers likely aren't done and that other teams will have to make big moves to keep up or be left behind. We knew the offseason was going to be crazy no matter what, but this just made it all that much crazier.
But what does this deal itself mean for bettors? Because that's really what we care about most, isn't it?
1. The team is run by idiots: The drama of the last weeks, months and years has given us every reason to doubt the folks in charge of this team. And while they got their guy, they paid a king's ransom for him - when it's not entirely clear who exactly they were betting against. And by planning to make the deal official on July 6 when league business resumes instead of July 30, they have cost themselves valuable cap space. But none of that matters compared to what is still to come. By trading away so many young players in the deal, they are in a situation where they essentially have James, Davis, Kyle Kuzma, and not much else on the roster. They need to add a lot of talent, and they don't have a lot of cash to do it. If we learned a lesson from Golden State in the playoffs this year, it was that depth is crucially important - even if your superstars are better than their superstars. The team seems to be really tempted to add a third superstar player, but that will further limit the quality of the depth. James should have learned by now that they just can't surround him with his friends who will work cheap. This league demands more than that now. But that means that we have to have faith in this management team to get the mix right. I find that confidence very tough to have. At the very least we need to be patient and see what management does from here before we even attempt to judge what fair odds for the team would be.
2. Health matters: Again, the NBA Fnals taught us everything about the importance of health and what it means to how games turn out. There is obviously going to be a massive dropoff from the stars to the rest of this team, so they absolutely need to be healthy. And that is far from certain. James is 34-years-old, is closing in on 1,500 career games, doesn't exactly save his body when he plays, and is coming off the most significant injury he has had. Sooner or later it is all going to catch up to him. And while Davis is much younger and has played much less, he can't exactly be accused of being the most durable player in the league. When the two players are together, it is reasonably likely that they will have strong chemistry - their games are an ideal complement to each other. But it won't matter if they aren't on the court together, and both guys have shown that they can't quite do it alone. We need to build health concerns into any price we were willing to accept.
3. We still know so little: In order to get a sense of what to expect from this team, we have to know what they are up against, and that isn't easy to do right now. Houston seems determined to blow it all up and build a new reality around Harden. But what will that look like? How will Golden State make up for some serious bad luck? Where does Kawhi Leonard land? Or Kyrie Irving? Can Milwaukee add some high-level help for the Freak? What will Philadelphia do with their mix of players? Can Brooklyn make some noise? Is Dallas done? How about the Knicks? There isn't a single contender right now that looks like they want to look next year, and many aren't anywhere close. To jump enthusiastically on the Lakers bandwagon, as so many clearly have, is at best premature right now. The public can't show logic or restraint around a situation like this. Don't be like them.
Read more articles by Trevor Whenham
Most Recent NBA Handicapping
- NBA Commissioner Weighs In on Legal US Sports Betting
- Los Angeles Lakers vs Phoenix Suns NBA Playoff Series Predictions and Odds
- Boston Celtics vs Brooklyn Nets NBA Playoff Series Predictions and Odds
- LA Lakers Could be in Real Trouble with LeBron and AD Injuries
- Free NBA Picks Wednesday 1/20/2021 and Opening Line Report
- Free NBA Picks Friday 1/15/2021 and Opening Line Report
- Free NBA Picks Wednesday 1/13/2021 and Opening Line Report
- Free NBA Picks Friday 1/8/2021 and Opening Line Report
- Free NBA Picks Wednesday 1/6/2021 and Opening Line Report
- Free NBA Picks Friday 1/1/2021 and Opening Line Report