L.A. Lakers Have NBA Title Potential, but Too Many Questions to be Favorites

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Like Randy Newman, the NBA title handicappers love L.A. The top two favorites to win it all in the National Basketball Association this season both reside in Los Angeles and they squared off in the season opener.

The L.A. Clippers, who have the most favorable title odds of anyone in the league, beat the L.A. Lakers 112-102 Tuesday night, on the strength of their fourth quarter defense, which held the Lakers to just 17 points in the final 12 minutes. The Lakers have the second most favorable NBA title odds with the Milwaukee Bucks coming in third.

If you’re going to be making any free NBA picks tonight then you should take a look at the Lake Show’s home opener, which sees them favored by 3.5 over the Utah Jazz. 

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The Lakers are a solid team, but are they really in the mix to win their 17th NBA title this season?

That seems to be a pretty big gap to bridge from last season, where they didn’t even make the playoffs. It’s pretty clear from the season curtain raiser that they still have plenty of issues to figure out before they can be taken seriously as a legitimate title front-runner.

Of course, no one can deny the level of top tier talent and brand name star power that the L.A. Lakers roster possesses. With a front line that includes the likes of Lebron James, Anthony Davis, Dwight Howard, Danny Green and DeMarcus Cousins, it’s hard to find a better forward position group; anywhere.

However, there are two major challenges facing the Lakers this season. First, it’s one thing to build a fantasy team, something which sounds great on paper. It’s another to make sure all the pieces fit and gel together, with everyone assuming the proper roles and responsibilities. It’s certainly on Frank Vogel to figure it out and that’a why he’ll get paid the big bucks.

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Secondly, it’s pretty much “win now” mode given the ages of so many of the L.A. Lakers key players. Father time is undefeated and there isn’t a whole lot of career left for their biggest stars. In December, James will turn 34 and Howard will be 34. Green is 32 and point guard Rajon Rondo will be 34 by midseason.

In other words, yes there is a super team built around King James in La la land, but questions still remain, and the window won’t be open for very long.

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, the author of “No,  I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” regularly appears on WGN CLTV and co-hosts the “Let’s Get Weird, Sports” podcast on SB Nation

You can follow Banks, a former writer for NBC Chicago.com and Chicago Tribune.com on Twitter here and his cat on Instagram at this link.

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