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Evaluating the Los Angeles Lakers at the All-Star Break

We examine the Lakers going into the All-Star Break, looking at some futures betting lines, injuries and one player to watch in fantasy basketball.

Los Angeles Lakers v Denver Nuggets Photo by Bart Young/NBAE via Getty Images

The NBA Trade Deadline and All-Star Weekend have come and gone, so that means we’re in the home stretch of the 2019-20 NBA season. In this serious post-All-Star Break, we’ll go over the outlook for every team in the NBA. Here, we’ll provide a short glimpse at championship odds and playoff chances for each team on DraftKings Sportsbook. Also highlighted are key injuries to note and a fantasy basketball player to watch the rest of the season.

Where do the Los Angeles Lakers stand at the All-Star Break?

Record: 41-12
Playoff Chances: 100%
Championship Odds: +300
Division Odds: -286
Conference Championship winner: +175
MVP odds: LeBron James (+900), Anthony Davis (+5000)

The Lakers have dominated the first half of the regular season, posting the best winning percentage in the Western Conference. They are second on DraftKings Sportsbook to win the NBA title at +300 odds, and they are the favorites to win the Western Conference. The Lakers have two frontrunners for MVP, with LeBron James sitting third in MVP odds and Anthony Davis tied for fourth.

Los Angeles has the league’s second best possession adjusted point differential. They have been the league’s second best offense by points scored per possession and the fifth best defense by points allowed per possession. Los Angeles has also been strong on the glass, ranking fourth best by the percentage of missed shots rebounded.

A lack of tradeable assets led to a quiet trade deadline, as Los Angeles’ cupboard was barren after trading a fortune to acquire Anthony Davis from the Pelicans in the offseason. However, as a strong title contender, the Lakers could be active in the buyout market, which runs through the end of February. The Lakers are a candidate to improve their bench this month if they can secure help on the buyout market.

Prediction: The Lakers win the Western Conference but fall to the Milwaukee Bucks in the NBA Finals.

Key Injuries for Los Angeles Lakers

DeMarcus Cousins, C (knee) — out indefinitely

Cousins tore his ACL prior to the start of the season and is not expected to play in the regular season. However, there is a chance Cousins could return at some point during the postseason. A healthy Cousins could provide some scoring punch off the bench during minutes when LeBron James rests, as the Lakers have struggled to score points with James off the court.

Fantasy basketball spotlight: LeBron James

James has been Los Angeles’ top fantasy performer, averaging 55.3 DraftKings fantasy points (DKFP) per game, a few fantasy points ahead of Anthony Davis’ 51 DKFP per game. A full-time move to point guard has spiked James’ facilitating. James leads the league in facilitating, creating 19 potential assists per game, 11 assists per game, and 27 points per game off assists, all the top marks in each respective category. James’ 31% usage rate also leads the Lakers, ahead of Davis’ 28% usage rate.

If James is forced to miss any time in the second half either due to injury or rest, Davis’ fantasy value on DraftKings would rise significantly for those games. Davis’ usage rate rises to a heavy 32% in minutes with James off the court this season, up from 26% with James on the court. Likewise, James would see a boost in fantasy value if Davis misses any games, as James’ usage rate sits at 34% in minutes with Davis off the court, up from 29% in minutes with Davis on the court.

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