The Los Angeles Lakers are preparing for their second season under coach Darvin Ham and will once again feel they can launch a challenge for the championship after losing in last season's conference finals.
The Lakers have won the NBA Championship 17 times, tied with Boston Celtics for the most in the history of the NBA, and the last of those came in 2020 when they overcame Miami Heat in six games in the Finals.
Last season, the Lakers finished seventh in the Western Conference with a 43-39 record and beat the Minnesota Timberwolves in the play-in round to clinch a playoff spot.
LA beat the Memphis Grizzlies in the first round and the Golden State Warriors in the conference semifinals before the eventual champions, the Denver Nuggets, swept LA in the Western Conference Finals.
|2022/23 Los Angeles Lakers||Record: 43-39|
|Result: Lost to DEN Nuggets in West Finals|
|To win 2023/24 NBA Championship||+1200|
|To win 2023/24 Western Conference||+650|
Arguably the greatest basketball player ever, LeBron James enters the 2023/24 NBA season as the oldest player in the league at 38 years old.
That said, he didn't miss a beat in his 20th season as he averaged 28.9 points per game, 8.3 rebounds per game, and 6.8 assists per game while shooting 50 percent from the field. Even more impressive: James played 35.5 minutes per game last season, tied for the 17th-highest average in the league.
One of the best big men in the NBA, Davis has recently been hampered by injuries and has not played more than 70 games in a season since 2017/18. Still, he battled back from the injuries that held him to 56 games in 2022/23, he averaged 25.9 points, 12.5 rebounds, and two blocks in the regular season.
He got healthy in time for last year's playoffs and scored more than 30 points in four of the Lakers' 16 postseason games, but he could not help his team past Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets in the conference finals.
Jalen Hood-Schifino (PG/SG) Draft/Indiana
Maxwell Lewis (SF) Draft/Pepperdine
Gabe Vincent (PG/SG) Miami
Taurean Prince (SF/PF)
Minnesota Cam Reddish (SF) Portland
Jaxson Hayes (C) New Orleans
Christian Wood (C/PF) Dallas
Dennis Schroder (PG) Toronto
Mo Bamba (C) Philadelphia
Malik Beasley (SG) Milwaukee
Shaquille Harrison (PG/SG) Memphis
Troy Brown Jr. (SF) Minnesota
Wenyen Gabriel (C/PF) Boston
Cole Swider (PF/SF) Miami
Lonnie Walker IV (SG) Brooklyn
The Lakers open the season with a huge game and a chance for some early revenge as they take on champions the Denver Nuggets in a road game on October 24th before a tough home game against division rivals the Phoenix Suns two days later.
On Oct. 29, LA will travel north to take on the Sacramento Kings, who finished third in the West last season.
The first clash against city rivals the Clippers comes on November 1st, with the Lakers the designated home team for that game at the shared Crypto.com Arena.
This team has enough quality on the roster to go all the way and win the championship, but their chances depend on whether or not they can keep their key players fit.
LeBron James remains the star man on the Lakers' roster but he enters the new season as the oldest player in the league. James averaged 28.9 points, 8.3 rebounds and 6.8 assists last season, but he missed 28 regular season games and has only played in more than 60 in one of the last five seasons.
Fellow star Anthony Davis signed a new three-year deal over the summer but has struggled with injury issues over the last few seasons, and the Lakers' chances of claiming an 18th championship will depend on whether they are able to manage the fitness of both James and Davis to ensure they are fully fit for a playoff run.
The Lakers are +1200 to win the NBA Championship, the joint-fifth-shortest odds alongside the Golden State Warriors and behind the Milwaukee Bucks, Boston Celtics, Denver Nuggets and Phoenix Suns.
Davis has the joint-fourth-shortest odds to win Defensive Player of the Year at +1000, and Reaves has the joint-fourth-shortest odds to win Most Improved Player at +1400.
James has the joint-11th-shortest odds to win the MVP award at +2800, while Davis has the joint-12th-shortest odds to win it at +3300.