Suns vs. Lakers Preview: Value on LeBron and the Lakers as Home Underdogs

Will the Lakers avenge their Playoff exit to the Suns? @JoeDellera breaks down the matchup

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Suns vs. Lakers Odds

Suns Odds -1
Lakers Odds +1
Over/Under 223
Time 10 p.m. ET
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.

The last time these two teams faced off, the Phoenix Suns handed LeBron James his first first-round playoff exit in his entire career.

Although the Lakers were maligned with injuries, the Suns showed they were a worthy second seed and represented the Western Conference in the NBA Finals.

Now with LeBron getting one of the longest rests he’s had in his career, can the Lakers avenge their early postseason exit?

Phoenix Suns

The Suns are coming off a loss to the Denver Nuggets and are looking to rebound against the Lakers. Phoenix is healthy aside from the continued absence of Dario Saric, who will miss the entire season due to an ACL injury.

The Suns return a very similar roster compared to last season while adding Chandler Hutchinson, JaVale McGee, and Landry Shamet to supplement their depth.

While each year brings differences in data and sample sizes, considering the continuity of the Suns’ roster, it’s relevant to note that they rely on midrange shots and corner 3s on the offensive side of the ball while playing staunch defense.

Ordinarily, this offensive approach is not particularly efficient, but when they have elite mid-range scorers such as Chris Paul and Devin Booker, they can get away with it.

Los Angeles Lakers

The Lakers and GM LeBron made quite the splash this offseason as they tore apart the roster and reconstructed a new beast to take on the Western Conference.

While they will be without a few rotational pieces, such as Kendrick Nunn, Wayne Ellington, Trevor Ariza, and Talen Horton-Tucker, the Lakers should have plenty of firepower in this matchup.

One hope was that Anthony Davis would play more minutes at the five, but with DeAndre Jordan starting the season in the starting lineup against the Warriors, this is obviously not the case. Another observation from their season opener is that the Lakers hoisted 41% of their shots from 3-point range.

This is a shocking development because they don’t have the greatest set of 3-point shooters, and last season they attempted just 33.4% of their shots from 3 point range, per Cleaning the Glass. To put that in perspective, if this trend holds they would move from 23rd to fourth in 3-point frequency. That being said, you don’t need to be as efficient due to the math problem this can create for opponents.

Suns-Lakers Pick

The Lakers are still trying to figure out their rotations and what works best with their big three of Russell Westbrook, LeBron James, and Anthony Davis. Despite Westbrook’s struggles, the duo of LeBron and Davis look as healthy as ever after combining for 67 points and 22 rebounds against the Warriors.

What I’m most curious to see is whether the Lakers’ shot selection continues. We already know they are ruthless finishers at the rim, but if they are able to effectively stretch the floor, it should open up the interior for James and Westbrook to drive into the lane.

Ayton is excellent, and Kaminsky and McGee give the Suns some more size, but neither of them is an adequate counter for Anthony Davis if he actually plays the five. The question there is motivation and given the early playoff exit last season, I expect the Lakers (and Anthony Davis) to be motivated to prove themselves in this spot and actually take on some minutes at the 5.

The Lakers typically bounce back after a loss and avoid multi-game losing streaks. Over the last two seasons, when the Lakers are off a single loss they are 17-12 ATS and 19-10 straight up, per our Action Labs database.

Although this line has seen significant movement from the open and has been bet down from Lakers -3.5 to Lakers +1 at some books. This seems like an overreaction to last postseason and the Lakers’ loss to the Warriors.

Pick: Lakers +1 or better