How many wins is this the best player on earth worth? That is the question when it comes to the 2019 Los Angeles Lakers. This team won 35 games last season and has a win total of 49.5 wins this season. You could say they probably could’ve won a few more games as they engaged in some light tanking towards the end of the season (2-5 in April with their lowest points per game average of any month), but this is probably at most a 38-win true talent level team that is now being expected to win 12 more games to hit the over. That is quite the story and it’s easy to see why LeBron James is the MVP favorite right now. If he did that, he truly would be the most valuable player in this league.
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Those guys got all of the headlines, but it is truly the young guys who will define LeBron’s time in Los Angeles. Brandon Ingram has the potential to be a star this week and his 16.9 points per game, 5.3 rebounds and 3.9 rebounds last season as a 20 year-old are really encouraging for his future. A lot of people want this team to trade for another star, but I believe that he’s already there and his name is Brandon Ingram.
Lonzo Ball is another high profile youngster that will be playing alongside LeBron and it’ll be very interesting to see how that works out. He’s not a very strong shooter, but he’s a lockdown defender and a gifted passer. LeBron has never really played with a passer that is anywhere near his level before and it could be really exciting to see what he does with Ball and Rondo, two gifted passers.
The pieces that look best next to LeBron might be Josh Hart and Kyle Kuzma. Hart, especially, as he’s the kind of player who knows where to be on the fast break and is someone that LeBron can trust to bury an open 3. This team is really going to push the pace on offense and that is where Hart can shine. Kuzma was outstanding as a rookie last year, averaging 16.1 points per game on 36% shooting from three with 6.3 rebounds per. That’s great for a young power forward and it’s easy to see why the team let Julius Randle go.
I really hate this line. I feel like the Lakers will be back, but 48-50 wins is the exact range that I would put them in. 49 wins could still be the third seed in the Western Conference (it was last year) and would be at least fourth. That’s right where I see this team this year. This squad is good and there is always the chance the Lakers will make another move to add a star player (Damian Lillard is a name that won’t go away.)
I am just going to go with the math here. At 49.5 wins, 48 and 49 would be under and 50 would be over. I’ll take two out of three and go under. That doesn’t mean I’m down on this team, I think they are going to be great, but just that 50 wins seems a slightly less likely.
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