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Building Blocks are there but playoffs are out of reach for Lakers

With Kobe Bryant out of the picture and his gigantic contract off the books, the Los Angeles Lakers can finally start a proper rebuild and it looks like they might have the right building blocks in place to do so. A weird mix of players makes up the Lakers roster such as over-the-hill vets Jose Calderon and Metta World Peace, along with the poor man’s J.R. Smith, Nick Young, but solid drafts in recent years should set them up well for the future.

After fizzling out under Byron Scott’s old-school coaching tactics, LA brought in former Lakers player and former Warriors assistant coach Luke Walton as their new head coach. At 36 years old, he’s the youngest coach in the NBA and about four months younger than Metta World Peace. Walton will lean heavily on former all-star Luol Deng, whom the Lakers acquired in free agency. His points and minutes have come down for three straight seasons and I was surprised to find out he’s still just 31 years old, but he’ll be depended on to provide a stable presence while youngsters Brandon Ingram and D’Angelo Russell figure things out.

Ingram and Russell, along with Jordan Clarkson and Julius Randle, are the main pieces to the Lakers’ future and there’s cause for optimism with the quartet of youngsters. Clarkson trailed just Kobe in points per game last season and might fill the role as the team's go-to player on offense, while Randle averaged a double-double in his first full season. Ingram should develop into a great two-way talent while Russell showed steady improvement during his rookie season that will largely be remembered for exposing Swaggy P’s indiscretions.

With last season basically being dedicated to the Kobe Bryant farewell tour, it’ll be back to business in Hollywood as the 2016-17 Lakers attempt to distance themselves from the laughingstock they were in previous seasons. It’ll be a long climb to the top, or even to the middle, after coming off 17 wins last season and with the team clearly in rebuilding mode, fans shouldn’t expect much and neither should bettors.

NBA Championship (+20000), Western Conference (+15000) and Pacific Division (+10000)

If you’re considering placing a bet on the Lakers to win in any of these scenarios, stop what you’re doing immediately, have someone call your emergency contact, and have them drop you off at a local psychiatric hospital. I won’t waste your time debating the merits of the Lakers as a legit contender to win anything this season.

Will Lakers make the playoffs? YES (+2000) NO (-5000)

The Lakers are tied with the Nets for longest odds to make the playoffs at +2000. They’d need to more than double their 17 wins from last season to even get a sniff of a playoff spot, which seems incredibly unlikely. LA finished dead last in the West last season with six teams separating them from the No. 8 playoff spot. Once again, don’t waste your money.

OVER/UNDER 24.5

Only two teams in the Western Conference finished with fewer than 24.5 wins last season — the Suns and the Lakers. So the question here is whether the Lakers are eight games better than their 17 wins last season, and I don’t think they are. A proper rebuild involves giving young players plenty of reps and giving them the opportunity to learn from mistakes, and there will be plenty of mistakes from the non-Showtime Lakers this season.

Walton will also be doing plenty of on-the-job training as he adjusts from the record-setting Warriors squad he was part of last season to a team that’s bound for the lottery for a fourth consecutive season. The Lakers will be fun to watch, but will ultimately end up on the receiving end of countless one-sided beatdowns.

2016-17 Los Angles lakers Futures Odds
MarketOdds
NBA Finals+20000
Western Conference+15000
Pacific Division+10000
Win Totals24.5

Odds as of October 24 at Bovada

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