The Lakers have been terrible to start the season, and now they have to contend with dominant big man Anthony Davis and the Pelicans. Who should we side with when placing our NBA picks?
No surprise to see the Pelicans as the heavy favorites in the NBA odds. They're giving away as many as 10.5 points to the visiting Lakers, who have been awful to start the season.
For those wanting to pivot and make a different kind of selection for your NBA picks here, you can find the O/U at 210.5. It's clear a lot of points are going to be put on the scoreboard tonight, so for us we'd have to recommend taking the OVER or staying away completely.
New Orleans Pelicans
The Pelicans have gotten off to a 3-3 start this season, with wins over Magic, Hornets and Spurs and losses to the Mavericks, Grizzlies and Cavaliers.
It's been a tough stretch of competition to open the season for New Orleans, but the early signs have been promising. Going into San Antonio and beating the defending champions on the road is a statement of intent, as far as we're concerned, so the Pelicans have to be feeling good about their team right now.
Unfortunately, they weren't able to carry over that success into another road date, this time with LeBron James and the Cavs. Ultimately, New Orleans lost 117-111 in Monday's defeat.
Credit the Pelicans for going toe-to-toe with a very talented Cleveland team in a tough environment. Anthony Davis, of course, was the main man once again - he finished with 27 points, 14 rebounds, four assists, four steals and three blocks in another all-around performance. Elsewhere, Ryan Anderson caught fire off the bench, hitting eight threes on his way to 32 points in 34 minutes of play. He added five rebounds and three assists.
It's an exciting time for New Orleans. Davis has emerged as a top-five player in the NBA, while Jrue Holiday and Tyreke Evans have been playing well too. Omer Asik has been a nice addition, adding solid rebounding and defensive ability alongside Davis inside. This team has a bright future, there's no doubt about it.
We're not going to be too harsh on the Lakers.
Well, actually, it's hard to avoid saying negative things, considering Los Angeles has won just once this season. The Lakers' one victory came at home over Charlotte, but otherwise they've really struggled.
LA last took the court last night in a 107-102 road loss to Memphis. As a team, the Lakers shot 47.1 percent from the floor, while hitting 7-of-22 (31.8 percent) from beyond the arc.
Kobe Bryant, while also setting a record for most missed shots in NBA history, totaled 28 points to go with seven rebounds, six assists and four steals in the loss. Carlos Boozer had 20 points and eight boards and Jordan Hill went for 13 points and 14 rebounds while also chipping in with three assists, two steals and two blocks.
As we saw again in the loss to the Grizzlies, the Lakers' defense has been atrociously bad. They're allowing 111.9 points per game, which is the worst mark in the entire NBA. Unfortunately for LA, there's little reason to expect much of an improvement on that end, considering they just don't have players that excel on that end of the court. It's as simple as that.
Yes, the Lakers have been terrible so far, but we're not sure the Pelicans really deserve to be favored by this many points.
New Orleans has a lot of talent, including one of the best players in the NBA, but we want to see more out of them before backing them as double-digit chalk.
It's certainly a risk, but in the end we believe the value lies with Los Angeles in this spot. The Lakers are unlikely to win straight up, but we like their chances of avoiding a complete blowout. Take the points.
Free NBA Pick: Lakers +10.5 at 5Dimes