What can we say about the Lakers’ regular season? There are just two games left to play, yet we have known for a while now that the Staples Center would now be seeing any postseason action. Of course, it is now a fifth season in a succession that the Lakers have not made the Playoffs, but at least it posted a much more respectable record, with less than 50 games in the loss column for the first time since 2013.
What other gains improvements been made? Well, the Lakers have improved defense more than any other team since last season. Offense has been pretty decent too, especially since the All-Star Break, so there are some things to be cheerful about. With some decent young players – Ball, Ingram, Kuzma, not to mention Julius Randle– there is plenty of potential to build on in the future too.
Cap space could see the Lakers make big moves for next season
We know that the Lakers are now looking to 2019 beyond, with most fans eagerly awaiting to see what the management does with the cap space available to bolster the team. But there are still some potentially fantastic match ups for the neutral fan to watch in the 2018 playoffs.
The big story going into the playoffs still swirls around the Rockets and the Warriors. Nobody truly expected to see anyone ahead of GSW in the Western Conference, but the Rockets – led by MVP-worthy performer James Harden – just kept winning and winning. They end the season with a much better record than GSW and do not look like slowing down.
Rockets and Warriors look evenly matched
Indeed, sportsbooks took a while to take notice of Houston’s ascendancy and only recently have put their odds in line with GSW. Currently, you will find the Warriors at odds of around 5/4 and the Rockets at 6/4, both are by far and away the betting favourites. Indeed, there is a huge gap between those pair and the team with the third-best record in NBA, the Toronto Raptors, who can be found as high as 10/1 with some sportsbooks.
The other, perhaps more interesting, story going into the playoffs is the rejuvenation of the 76ers, who may not be a bad model for the Lakers to try to emulate next season. They had not posted a 50-win season for 17 years, but they are in the middle of a 14-game winning streak that has propelled them into the playoffs for the first time since 2012. Their odds of around 30/1 look a bargain given their form. It’s still a longshot though, so check out these latest betting offers to secure a free bet for basketball.
Irving loss hurts Celtics’ chances of progression
Elsewhere we will see the Celtics (50/1) try to cope without the injured Kyrie Irving, Thunder (45/1) try to get the most out of Carmelo Anthony and Lebron James try to once again make a Cavaliers (8/1) side look a little better than the sum of it parts. It all points to an exciting playoffs picture for this year. Let’s hope that the 2019 version has the Lakers playing a role more befitting than neutral observer.