Arguably, no other team's additions have been talked about more this off-season than that of the Los Angeles Lakers, and all of these moves are reflected in their win total projections. The Lakers have the fourth-highest projected win total in the Western Conference this year, with a line set at 47.5. Second-year head coach Darvin Ham aims to lead this revitalized and energized group into a strong encore performance of last year's postseason run.
Although they finished with only 43 wins last season, the Lakers have all sorts of momentum after a surprising Western Conference Finals appearance and a bevy of major free-agent moves. These additions include Jaxson Hayes, Taurean Prince, Cam Reddish, Gabe Vincent, and Christian Wood. After spending the third most money in the league in free agency, the Lakers have one of the deepest rotations.
Here are the Lakers NBA Odds, courtesy of FanDuel.
NBA Odds: Lakers Odds
Over: 47.5 wins (-104)
Under: 47.5 wins (-118)
*Watch NBA games LIVE with fuboTV (click for a free trial)*
Why The Lakers Will Win 48 Games
For the first time in his Lakers tenure, it seems the load will be off of LeBron's shoulders. A tremendous benefit of how this roster is made is that it blends experience with youth incredibly well. With an average age of 25 years, every player on this roster who has played in the league has playoff experience. In addition to this, the only players aged 30+ on this team are Anthony Davis and LeBron James. The Lakers could not have prepared better for an unexpected injury or fatigue to one of their stars.
Anthony Davis will determine the type of season the Lakers will have. He posted a career-high rebounding the ball by averaging 12.5 rebounds per game, which led to 40 Double-Doubles, the most he has had in a season since 2017-18. Then, he was on another planet in the postseason. AD racked up a postseason career-high in blocks per game with 3.1 and rebounds with 14.1. Maintaining this momentum is critical in him having another All-NBA level season.
The backcourt tandem of Austin Reaves and D'Angelo Russell has the potential to develop into one of the most underrated duos in the league this season based on their post-All-Star break run last season. In this span, D'Angelo Russell led the team in both assists per game with 6.1 and threes made per game with 2.9 on 42.1% shooting. Then, in the final 23 games that Austin Reaves played, the Lakers went 16-7 as they watched him average 17.6 points and 5.5 assists per game. The fan-favorite further grew in the offseason in the FIBA World Cup. In this tournament, with the eyes of the world on him, he averaged 13.8 points per game and went an impressive 13/26 from three.
Why The Lakers Will Not Win 48 Games
As the Denver Nuggets pointed out this past season, by winning the Finals, cohesiveness, and chemistry are everything in this league. Unfortunately for the Lakers, they have had very little of that since LeBron joined the team in 2018. Only two players (James and Davis) remain on the roster from their 2020 title run, and just five remain from last season's squad.
On top of this, the Lakers will need some consistency in the three-point shot to succeed. D'Angelo Russell and Max Christie are the only players on the roster to make 40.0% or more of their threes last season. This lackluster three-point shooting resulted in them finishing in the bottom six in the league as a team in three-pointers made per game with 10.8, three-point attempts per game with only 31.2, and overall three-point field goal percentage by posting a 34.6% mark from deep. They appear to cover every facet of the game, from rebounding to playmaking to interior scoring, but if they cannot find their shot from deep, it could spell disaster in LA.
Similarly to the Golden State Warriors, the level of competition the Lakers will have to face is instance. The Lakers made it to the Western Conference Finals last season yet came in last place in the Pacific Division. Unfortunately for them, the level of competition from these rivals will only increase, meaning that the Lakers will have little to no leeway game to game.
Final Lakers Over-Under Win Total Prediction & Pick for 2023
The Lakers truly overhauled their roster this off-season, and it seemed to be the consensus of NBA fans that Rob Pelinka was the MVP of the summer for how well he was able to craft this new roster. With how deep this team is and how well both LeBron James and Anthony Davis performed from the All-Star break throughout the playoffs, I will take the Over line of 47.5 wins.