Pelicans vs. Lakers Odds
|Time||10:30 p.m. ET|
|TV||NBA League Pass|
|Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.|
The Pelicans will travel to Los Angeles on Wednesday night to show how quickly they have retooled since trading away their franchise cornerstone, Anthony Davis, to the Lakers. Can the Lakers build off of their victory against the Nuggets, or will the Pelicans continue to dominate their opponents?
Pelicans Depth Has Thrived
The Pelicans were one of the most popular offseason sleeper picks for this season, and so far the optimism has seemed warranted. New Orleans is 4-2 and ranks fourth in Adjusted Net Rating despite missing Brandon Ingram, Zion Williamson and Herbert Jones for multiple games each.
They have been particularly dominant on offense where they rank first in Adjusted Offensive Rating and second in points per 100 possessions. They haven’t played a cupcake schedule either as they’ve had the 13th-most difficult schedule, according to dunksandthrees.com.
Ingram remains out for this one, but there is a chance that Jones plays. Injuries aren’t as big of an issue for this Pelicans team because they have tremendous depth at the wing position.
Naji Marshall, Trey Murphy III and Larry Nance have all been filling in more than admirably. Murphy is currently third in the NBA in 3-point percentage at the forward position, making 19/33 attempts (58%) so far this season. Both Nance and Marshall have True Shooting percentages of over 60%.
These guys have all been hyper-efficient contributors on both ends, and it is clear that the Pelicans have one of the deepest teams in the NBA. Don’t panic if Jones and Ingram are ruled out once again.
Lakers Defense Has Quietly Been Elite
The Lakers have been a massive disappointment to start the 2022-2023 season as they have gone 1-5 and rank just 27th in Adjusted Net Rating. Their offense has been particularly poor as they rank dead last in the NBA by scoring just 100.6 points per 100 possessions.
The spacing issues alongside Lebron James have continued as Russell Westbrook, Anthony Davis and Patrick Beverley have struggled to shoot from the perimeter. The Lakers currently rank dead last in 3-point percentage and 27th in midrange accuracy. They are bereft of competent replacement-level shooters, and this is hampering their ability to be efficient.
As bad as the offense has been, it must be acknowledged that the defense has been extremely strong so far. They rank second-best in Adjusted Defensive Rating and third in points allowed per 100 possessions. Davis’s return has been huge on that end as he is averaging 2.4 steals per game and 2.0 blocks per game. His presence in the paint will be huge in order to contain Williamson and Jonas Valanciunas.
Davis is currently listed as questionable, but he did say that his back has been “killing” him after their victory against the Nuggets on Sunday. I would caution a play on the Lakers until he has been confirmed in. Even then, we should approach this game with caution because there is always a possible he aggravates his back injury and leaves the game early.
I won’t be touching the Lakers until I know Davis is 100%. He is such a difference maker at the rim and on the glass for this Lakers team, and I don’t think they can win games against good teams without him.
Given his uncertain status, I would lean toward the under here. His absence will certainly hurt their defense, but it should also limit their offensive efficiency. If Davis is out, we should see more Wenyen Gabriel and/or Damian Jones minutes, which would kill the Lakers’ spacing even more. Both of these teams rank bottom-10 in three point frequency on offense, so I wouldn’t expect a ton of 3s in this game.
Trust the Lakers defense to compete and muck this game up regardless of Davis’s status.
Pick: Under 229 (BetRivers)