For a franchise that proudly carries the motto of “championship or bust”, the following may sounds a little strange: the Los Angeles Lakers are 33/1 to the win the 2014 NBA championship, according to NBA Betting Odds.
Gone are the days when the Lakers are the favorites – at least for now.
Seeing as the team was swept out of the playoffs just five months ago – and they lost Dwight Howard during free agency – it’s not all that surprising to see the Lakers labelled as an outsider.
Also, there is obviously question marks surrounding the Lakers’ big three, and the team’s success will not only rely on how Kobe Bryant (Achilles surgery) looks once he finally returns to the court, but whether both Pau Gasol and Steve Nash can not only stay healthy, but also perform at a high level each night.
Right now, the team is only two games into the pre-season so it’s hard to evaluate the team’s chances at this point. However, the thing that seems clear already is that the team seems to be playing more loosely and with more energy; this can likely be attributed to the departure of Howard – who was causing a multitude of problems – as well as the team having less of a target on their heads this year.
As usual, the Lakers will only go as far as Kobe takes them, yet he’ll need a great amount of support from Gasol, Nash and the role players in order for the team to make any kind of run in the 2014 playoffs.
The Miami Heat, who have won the last two NBA titles, are favorites this year at 2/1, while Oklahaoma City Thunder and Chicago Bulls are both 8/1 to hoist the Larry O’Brien trophy in June.