Will the Lakers retain their crown?

Lakers retain their crown

We are getting closer and closer to the business end of the NBA season. The All-Star game has come and gone, meaning everyone’s attention is quickly turning to this year’s NBA Playoffs betting odds. So far, several teams have defied their pre-season expectations to rise high in their respective conferences.The question on everyone’s mind is, Will the Lakers retain their crown?

The Lakers
Will the Lakers retain their crown?

Meanwhile, other teams have played well below their potential. Perhaps the most obvious example of this is reigning NBA champions the Los Angeles Lakers. Anyone who planned to bet on NBA Playoff games at the beginning of the year would have surely expected LeBron James and co to go far in the postseason. However, things have not quite gone to plan.

Although the franchise will make it to the Playoffs, they are unlikely to secure one of the top seeds. This has led to many pundits dismissing their chances of securing back-to-back titles. Then again, others remain convinced that they have what it takes. Which side is right? We took a deep dive into the Lakers’ season so far and their future prospects to find out.
How They Won It Last Time

The pair went on to split Games 4 and 5, with the Lakers securing the championship with a 13 point Game 6 win. Key to their run was Davis and James, two of the best players of all time, managing to remain injury free. Saying that, players further down the Lakers’ rotation also deserve credit for chipping in when required.
Key Players This Season

Much like last season, Davis and James will be pivotal to the Lakers’ Playoff chances. Whenever one or both of LA’s big two have been unavailable this season, they have struggled. A four game losing streak in March – when both were out injured – was particularly worrying.

The reason for the drop off is pretty simple. The Lakers are understandably reliant on the pair, who take up a huge chunk of their salary cap. Prior to picking up his injury, James ran their offence. As well as leading the team in scoring with 25.4 points per game, he also topped the charts for assists and put in a lot of overlooked defensive work.

Davis was similarly influential. In just over 20 games this season he was averaging some of the most blocks per game in the NBA and scoring efficiently. As long as they keep to their current recovery timescale, both stars will be back well in time for the Playoffs.

The Lakers are not a two-man band, though. Shooting guard Dennis Schroder will play his role in the postseason as well. With active hands on defence and great court vision, he is a good foil for the dominating James. Elsewhere, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope’s perimeter shooting will be another potent weapon.

There has also been talk that the Lakers may strengthen their roster by buying out some players’ contracts, in a similar vein to the Brooklyn Nets.

Can the Lakers really win two in a row?