After acquiring Anthony Davis, the Los Angeles Lakers are the early 2020 NBA title favorites.
The blockbuster trade sent the Pelicans’ superstar big man to L.A. in exchange for Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart and three first-round draft picks.
Immediately after, Las Vegas betting odds showed the Lakers as +300 favorites to win the championship next season. They are followed by the Bucks, Clippers, Rockets, Raptors and Sixers.
The Vegas odds indicate a lot of confidence in the LeBron-A.D. pairing. Should they really be the favorites?
Davis only played 56 games last season, as he was rested after declaring he wanted out of New Orleans. As trade drama surrounded him ever since he made his request, basketball fans heard more about potential trades, and saw less of A.D. on the court. After this past season, it could be easy to forget that Anthony Davis is the best big man in the NBA.
In his seven seasons in New Orleans, Davis has career averages of 23.7 points, 10.5 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game. He is only one season removed from putting up back-to-back seasons scoring 28 points per game.
A.D. can score both inside and out, as well as play great defense. Davis has been acknowledged for his stats with six All-Star selections, three All-NBA First Team selections and three All-NBA Defensive Team selections.
Outside of arguably Dwayne Wade, LeBron will have his best teammate yet with Davis. While his health may be a slight concern, LeBron will have the league’s best big man, in his prime, on his team going forward.
As of now, the Lakers have to be the favorites to win the title, due to the uncertainty around the league. Free agency will determine the power structure of the NBA, but right now, the Lakers have two of the best five players in the league on their roster. No other team can say that.
The Lakers only have a handful of players under contract, including Davis, LeBron and Kyle Kuzma. With remaining cap space, the Lakers likely don’t have enough money to go after one of the bigger names on the market.
Instead, it will be interesting to see which role players, such as shooters, the Lakers bring in. While their roster will need to fully be formed, the Lakers have a great core heading into free agency. Making the right moves with the cap will be key.
The Kevin Durant injury, as well as Klay Thompson’s injury, opens the league wide open. Even if the Warriors re-sign both players. KD is likely out for the year, and Klay could potentially return in time for the playoffs.
Houston has their star backcourt likely returning next season, though there have been reports of drama between the two. OKC’s duo could take another step in their second full season, but still could use a third star, as well as shooting.
Portland will likely be better next season with a healthy Nurkic, as well as Denver, who could progress as the best young team in the Western Conference.
Kawhi Leonard’s free agency move will determine a lot. If he goes to the Clippers, potentially with another star, the L.A. rivalry would elevate, as the Clippers would be contending as well.
With the draft and free agency upcoming, teams will continue to fill out their roster in hopes of building a contender. The Lakers’ front office may try and swing another All-Star level player, but they likely won’t have the cap space.
With KD out, Leonard’s decision will determine the landscape of the league. As of now, with teams still looking for their star players, the Lakers are set. The question for them is who comes off the bench when LeBron and Davis sit.
The Lakers make sense as early 2020 championship favorites, but by the end of free agency, everything could change.
Featured image credited to Getty Images.
Stats credited to basketball-reference.com.