NBA Pacific Division Odds: Can the Clippers Win the Battle of Los Angeles?
The start of the NBA regular season is right around the corner, and FanDuel Sportsbook has posted odds for which team will win each division. That includes the Pacific Division, which features two of the best teams in the league:
- Los Angeles Lakers -140
- Los Angeles Clippers +125
- Golden State Warriors +1800
- Phoenix Suns +2400
- Sacramento Kings +13000
This is seen as a two-horse race between the Lakers and Clippers, who were both excellent during the regular season last year. The Lakers ended up winning the division and secured the top seed in the entire Western Conference, but the Clippers were right behind them at No. 2 in the West. The Lakers ultimately won 73.2% of their regular season games last season, while the Clippers won 68.1%.
The Lakers have a chance to be even better in 2021. They still have the dynamic duo of LeBron James and Anthony Davis, who both signed extensions with the team during the offseason. LeBron is coming off his fourth title and fourth NBA Finals MVP award last season, and he’s shown no signs of slowing down at nearly 36 years old. They also upgraded their supporting cast during the offseason after acquiring Dennis Schroder, Wesley Matthews, Montrezl Harrell, and Marc Gasol.
The Clippers have arguably just as much talent as the Lakers, including their own dynamic duo in Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. That said, this team struggled with chemistry issues last season – especially in the bubble – and they transitioned from Doc Rivers to Tyronn Lue at head coach during the offseason. Their roster is essentially the same as it was last season, but they did swap Harrell for Serge Ibaka. Harrell is the league’s reigning Sixth Man of the Year, but he was badly exposed during the playoffs. Ibaka could actually be an upgrade for them this season.
The big question is just how serious the Clippers will take the regular season. They prioritized load management for guys like Leonard and George last year, and that strategy will likely cost them a few wins again during the 2021 regular season.
If you’re looking for a long shot, the Warriors and Suns both have some merit. The Warriors would have been priced much more competitively with the Los Angeles teams if not for the injury to Klay Thompson, but they still employ one of the most dangerous players in the game in Steph Curry.
The Suns will be looking to build off their success from inside the bubble last season. They went a perfect 8-0 in Orlando, but that wasn’t good enough to secure a spot in the playoffs. They acquired Chris Paul in the offseason, and that could be what this team needs to put them over the top. He’s still one of the most impactful players in basketball on a per-minute basis, and he should help ease the burden for guys like Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton.
Finally, it would take some truly miraculous circumstances for the Kings to win the division. They have some promising players, but they are still years away from being actual contenders.