After an atrocious start to their 2022-23 campaign, the Los Angeles Lakers have begun to slowly turn their momentum around for the better.
The Lakers dropped 10 of their first 12 games, which included a pair of four-game losing streaks that resulted in a second-to-last place standing in the Western Conference. It was a nearly cold-as-can-be stretch that not only saw the Lakers pile up their loss column but featured some noteworthy struggles from — now big-time contributors — Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook.
But that’s in the past as ahead of their Sunday night contest against the Washington Wizards, the Lakers have climbed up a few spots in the Western Conference at 9-12. They are winners in four of their last five games, including an impressive 133-129 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday night.
As a result, oddsmakers have taken notice .
Before NBA’s Opening Night on Oct. 18, the Lakers were projected to finish the year at 33-49 with a 3.1% chance of reaching the playoffs and a fewer than 1% chance at winning the NBA Finals, according to ESPN.
However, the prices have shifted in Los Angeles’ favor due in large part to their on-court shift in performance.
As of Saturday, the Lakers’ odds to finish the season atop the West are +3000 which places them in ninth place, ahead of the Minnesota Timberwolves (+4000), Sacramento Kings (+5000), Utah Jazz (+6000), Oklahoma City Thunder (+50000), San Antonio Spurs (+70000) and Houston Rockets (+70000), according to DraftKings Sportsbook.
Within their last five-game stretch the Lakers have averaged 124.8 points. That’s a major difference from their first five games of the season in which the Lakers offense averaged just 102.2 while simultaneously going 1-4 in said contests.
Whether the recent streak of success is to be credited to Westbrook’s unsung hero-like switch to his campaign or Davis’ prime-like trend, the Lakers have a lot of ground to make up in order to continue their upward trajectory.