The Los Angeles Lakers face an offseason full of questions and few answers as they look to rebound from what ended up being a disappointing 2020-21 campaign.
The Lakers faced several obstacles before the season even began as they had little time to rest, and a wave of injuries ended up being their downfall in the playoffs. Now, the front office has the unenviable task of trying to improve a roster with limited cap space and assets which puts Los Angeles at a severe disadvantage compared to some other contenders.
Fortunately, the Lakers should see the return of a healthy LeBron James and Anthony Davis. James and Davis both spent much of the year on the sidelines as they dealt with injuries, but a full offseason of rest will do them and the team some good.
Individually, James and Davis are MVP-caliber players, but received some relatively lower odds to come away with the 2021-22 NBA MVP:
NBA MVP odds for next season w/ stiff comp for Lakers stars LeBron & AD, via @SportsBettingAG:
FAV: Durant/Luka – 4/1
Giannis – 7/1
Steph – 8/1
Embiid – 8/1
LEBRON – 9/1
Dame – 10/1
Jokic – 12/1
Trae – 14/1
Booker – 20/1
Harden – 20/1
Tatum – 25/1
Westbrook – 25/1
AD – 28/1
— Ryan Ward (@RyanWardLA) July 15, 2021
Kevin Durant looked like his normal self during the 2021 NBA playoffs, while Luka Doncic has already ascended into a superstar and should already be considered a generational type of player. James was arguably the front-runner for MVP during the 2020-21 season, but his ankle injury effectively took him out of the running and paved the way for Nikola Jokic to run away with the honors.
Meanwhile, Davis is arguably a top-five player when engaged, but his effort level seems to wax and wane during the regular season while his long injury history also dampens his odds.
Even though it is unlikely James or Davis win MVP next season, the Lakers still received very favorably odds to win the 2022 NBA Championship. The duo will need to be at their best in order to lead the Purple and Gold back to the top, but if they are healthy then it is hard betting against them.
Durant includes James and Davis in NBA 2K22 starting lineup
The Brooklyn Nets boast the most offensive firepower with Durant, Kyrie Irving and James Harden, but the Lakers have the most dominant frontcourt with James and Davis. So it was no surprise that Durant included the Laker duo when composing his NBA 2K22 starting lineup.
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