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    09/07/2011 10:47 PM
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    11/24/2021 7:15 PM

2013 NBA Championship Odds and Betting Preview: Los Angeles Lakers

The NBA season is right around the corner and the Los Angeles Lakers 2013 NBA Championship Odds are currently at 7-2 ($100 bet pays $550). They are 33-20 to win the Eastern Conference and their over/under season win total projection is 59,5. Below is the overall season preview by Pregame Pro André Gomes

Realistically, the Lakers weren’t a true contender for the title last season.

Kobe Bryant was coming from a surgery in Germany in the offseason, it looked like he was 5 years younger, but the Lakers had too much problems in other areas:

The team replaced one of the best coaches of all time with Mike Brown; Derek Fisher and Metta World Peace showed up in the season completely out of form and they looked “old”; Andrew Bynum started the season suspended and finally, the team got rid of their best backup player in Lamar Odom, who joined one of their main rivals, without replacing him with another quality backup.

2011-12 Regular Season Numbers:

Advanced Numbers

4 Factors

Overall

#'s

Rank

Offense

#'s

Rank

Defense

#'s

Rank

Pace

89.11

20

eFG% Off

49.2%

12

eFG% Def

47.7%

6

Offense

107.69

10

TO% Off

14.22

20

TO% Def

10.65

30

Defense

106.04

14

Reb% Off

28.97

6

Reb% Def

24.99

6

Rebound

51.99

3

FT% Off

22.83

8

FT% Def

16.28

1

 

To make things worse, the Clippers for the first time in several years looked to have a competitive team, capable of replacing the Lakers as their best team in LA. Anyway, the Lakers finished the season with a better record than the Clippers, while being able of posting a winning record in every single month of the regular season.

Los Angeles Lakers month-by-month record:

Months

W

L

PACE

Off. H

Off. A

Reb%

January

13

9

88.6

105.8

101.6

50.4

February

8

5

89.2

103.9

102.7

52.9

March

11

7

89.5

110.0

107.5

51.2

April

9

5

89.4

111.4

114.4

54.6

 

With Mike Brown being a coach known for his defensive abilities, the Lakers were indeed one of the best defensive teams in the league in the first two months, while the offense was struggling and was being too dependent from what Kobe Bryant was doing.

Curiously, as the season went by, the Lakers improved on offense, while at the same time, the defense was regressing big time. In March, the Lakers signed the PG Ramon Sessions to the Cavaliers and Sessions was important to the improvement of their offense, as the numbers show:

Sessions in LA

W

L

PACE

Off. H

Off. A

Reb%

Before

27

16

88.8

106.0

102.7

51.3

After

14

9

89.7

110.9

112.2

53.3

On the playoffs, the Lakers had a tough battle in the first round against the Nuggets that was extended to seven games. The physical advantage of the Lakers near the basket was evident, but the lack of speed from their guards was well explored by Denver, especially by Ty Lawson when he was aggressive.

In the second round, the Lakers were more competitive than expected against Oklahoma City, even though the series was solved in just five games. The problem of the Lakers was their lack of discernment and poor physical condition on the clutch moments of the games.

Offseason moves 2012-13:

I’m not going to talk a lot about the Lakers’ offseason, as we all know what happened with the team.

The trade that was once a disaster when the Lakers decided to sent Lamar Odom for strictly financial reasons to Dallas was also the one that allowed the Lakers to have enough money to sign Steve Nash in the free agency.

The Lakers also took advantage of the Magic’s lack of options to trade Dwight Howard to enter the deal and even though they had to sacrifice Andrew Bynum, the Lakers were able to sign Howard.

Finally, Antawn Jamison and Jodie Meeks were signed on free agency to improve their second unit.

Nash – Bryant – Howard?

When Steve Nash signed with the Lakers, I wrote a long article talking about Steve Nash’s impact on the team, assuming that Andrew Bynum was going to remain on the team.

http://andregomescapper.blogspot.pt/2012/07/steve-nash-running-show-in-la.html

My biggest worry was about how Bynum would adjust to a new style and defensively, the lack of speed and explosiveness of the team was a weakness that needed to be corrected, but then the Lakers basically traded Bynum for Howard.

Last season, the Lakers didn’t any have speed in the perimeter and Bynum wasn’t mobile enough to compensate that lack of athleticism from wing players. So, it wasn’t a surprise to realize that the Lakers were the team in the league that fewer turnovers forced to their opponents and for this season, with Nash on the team, the scenario wasn’t looking brighter for the Lakers.

With Howard on the team and assuming he is able to be at a close level that he showed in Orlando, the Lakers will be a completely different team that they would be with Bynum.

Howard’s impact on defense will be huge for the Lakers, who will have a big man capable of correcting the errors from the teammates in the backcourt. Let’s just remember that Howard in Orlando had teammates like Jameer Nelson, Vince Carter and Hedo Turkoglu, and still the Magic were one of the best defensive teams in the league.

Offensively, Howard’s influence will be much bigger than most people think because Steve Nash is one of the best pure passes in the league and he will easily find in Howard a perfect partner. Howard’s limitations on the free throw line are well known, but with the Lakers constantly on the “bonus”, this will limit the aggressiveness their rivals will put while defending Bryant, Gasol or Nash.

Metta World Peace seems to be in good physical form when compared with the previous season and so, the Lakers will have “other” addition to the team, as Metta was simply horrible on offense last season.

 

Will Mike Brown maximize the resources he has for this season?

This will be one of the keys for the Lakers this season. Eddie Jordan was hired to coordinate the offense and it is public that Jordan will implement his favorite system on the team, the Princetown offense. But is this system adequate to the Lakers roster? Steve Nash is a player that needs the ball on his hands to be effective and the Princetown offense has as their main requirements the constant ball movement between the perimeter players.

The Lakers will have four players with a good offensive quality in Nash, Bryant, Gasol and Howard, so it will be up to Mike Brown to maximize the flexibility that these players have. Kobe Bryant will have to sacrifice some of his absurd shooting volume that he has been having over the last few seasons – he was by far the player with more FGA per game last season, but having in account Bryant actually asked Jordan to join the Lakers, then I believe Kobe will be willing to do that.

Defensively, I don’t believe there are doubts about Mike Brown’s coaching qualities and his ability to turn the Lakers into a top 10 defensive team. With Howard at 100%, this will be almost automatically for the Lakers this season.

 

Final Thoughts

If the lack of speed on the perimeter will be compensated with Dwight Howard’s presence on the paint, the Lakers might find themselves once again with the problem of having a low number of quality solutions on the bench.

Antawn Jamison was the main name to be added to the Lakers’ bench this season, but I have doubts about his current ability. Over his last few seasons in Cleveland, Jamison was horrible on defense by being completely outplayed by his opponents while on offense, Jamison was also ineffective by shooting just 42.7 and 40.3% FG on the last two seasons. Obviously the fact that he wasn’t playing on a competitive team made his motivation being a low level, as I remember that he joined the Cavaliers, in order to help Lebron James in winning a title for the Cavs, so it’s possible that a motivated Jamison might be able to hide his struggles over the last two seasons.

Jordan Hill, David Ebanks, Jodie Meeks and Steve Blake don’t give me a lot of confidence about their quality coming off the bench and so, it will be very important for the Lakers’ starters to quickly build a good chemistry between them because the minutes where they will be on the bench might become a quick disaster for the team, as we’ve been watching on the preseason games.

The Lakers are obviously one of the best teams on the league and one of the main contenders to dethrone Oklahoma City as the best team in the West. Howard’s recovery and the way their offense will work or not will be the two main challenges the Lakers will have for this season, a team that has the sole goal of winning the title this season.

Follow Andre Gomes on Twitter @GomesCapper

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My name is André Gomes, I’m from Portugal and I am a Professional Handicapper. My sole purpose is to constantly beat the sportsbooks by taking advantage of the evaluation errors they make. It is most... Read more

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