- The Los Angeles Lakers have dropped to +500 odds to win the 2019-20 NBA Championship
- Previously, they were +350 to win the title
- Lakers center DeMarcus (Boogie) Cousins was lost for the season this week with a torn ACL
Are the Los Angeles Lakers living with shattered dreams, or were their NBA Championship hopes nothing more than a facade?
We may never know the truth but we do know this – without center DeMarcus Cousins, who tore his ACL in an offseason workout – the chances of the Lakers capturing a title have lessened in the eyes of the leading sportsbooks.
2019-20 NBA Finals Odds
|Team||Odds at BetOnline|
|Los Angeles Clippers||+350|
|Los Angeles Lakers||+500|
*Odds taken on 08/16/19. Check BetOnline for the complete list.
BetOnline also dropped the Lakers to +350 to win the Western Conference title.
Lakers Can’t Boogie
As much as their plans revolved around teaming LeBron James this season with newcomer Anthony Davis, the thought of rekindling the magic that Davis and Cousins conjured up with the New Orleans Pelicans also played a vital role in LA’s title hopes.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) August 15, 2019
From 2015-18, Cousins was a four-time NBA All-Star. He averaged 25.9 points, 11.9 rebounds, 4.2 assists, 1.5 steals and 1.5 blocks and shot 46 percent across those three seasons. He was able to stretch the floor as well, providing a competent outside threat while shooting 35 percent from downtown.
An Achilles injury halted that run. Now, he’s torn up the knee of the same leg. The chances are he won’t play at all this season. Cousins will have played just three months over the past three seasons.
Was It All Just A House Of Cards?
The Lakers were dealt a losing hand early in the summer when the free agent they were so desperately chasing, forward Kawhi Leonard, signed with LA’s other NBA team, the Clippers.
How LeBron and AD carrying the Lakers this season pic.twitter.com/wBus3bdqMX
— Josiah Johnson (@KingJosiah54) August 16, 2019
While wooing Kawhi, the Lakers let a lot of potentially solid secondary pieces escape their grasp. Players like D’Angelo Russell, JJ Redick and Bojan Bogdanovic would’ve fit well into what they were assembling.
In the end, they accomplished a decent Plan B, adding Danny Green and Avery Bradley as well as bringing back JaVale McGee and Rajon Rondo to go with the hopeful reunion of Davis and Cousins.
Potential Lakers' depth chart following DeMarcus Cousins' injury. pic.twitter.com/UT38mgx4CU
— HoopsHype (@hoopshype) August 16, 2019
On paper, it didn’t look terrible. But with Cousins gone, the Lakers are left looking at starting McGee at center, or sliding Davis over there from power forward. They’ll need to ride Davis and LeBron even harder for offense, and they don’t have enough bench depth to let those guys get sufficient rest.
The NBA Title Was Always Going Elsewhere
Because the Lakers are the Lakers, people were always going to oversell exactly how good they truly are, much like baseball bettors do with the New York Yankees.
"I don't want to be a prisoner of the moment or 'Sound the Alarm,' but sound the alarm Laker faithful. … This is a blow to the Lakers and I think that they will not, N-O-T have a shot at a championship without Boogie Cousins." — @RobParkerFS1 pic.twitter.com/GEDtiQ9cKp
— UNDISPUTED (@undisputed) August 16, 2019
With or without Cousins, looking at the other top teams in the West, it’s difficult to project that the Lakers were going to beat the Clippers, or even the Houston Rockets in a seven-game series.
It’s difficult to make a case that the loss of Cousins will devastate the Lakers’ chances of taking the title, because those chances were always more of a dream than a reality.
Let's have fun and keep it civil.