Lakers NBA Odds Unmoved Despite DeMarcus Cousins Torn ACL
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DeMarcus Cousins was going to be a critical piece to the Los Angeles Lakers’ championship run, and the 29-year-old’s presence in the frontcourt was one reason they were among the favorites heading into the regular season. But Cousins’ season might be over after the six-time All-Star suffered a torn ACL during a scrimmage on Monday.
Lakers’ Title Odds Don’t Move
It’s a devastating blow to Cousins’ career given his past injuries, but oddsmakers don’t believe it moves the needle much on the Lakers’ title chances. Their +425 odds – second only to the +325 LA Clippers – didn’t move in the wake of the Cousins news, and they’re still +270 to win the West and +210 to win the Pacific division. No other team’s odds improved after the news broke, either.
Lakers Still Loaded in Frontcourt
No team wants to lose its starting center a month before training camp opens, but if there was one area the Lakers could have afforded an injury, it was in the frontcourt.
That’s as much of a reason as any why the Lakers’ title odds didn’t move. Anthony Davis is more than capable of playing center, while the Lakers could feasibly go small in the postseason with either LeBron James or Kyle Kuzma playing center. The Lakers also resigned JaVale McGee, who started 62 games at the center a year ago.
Title odds reflect what will happen in the postseason – James has shown he doesn’t need to win big in the regular season to win titles – and this simply means James and Davis will have to do heavier lifting in May and June for the Lakers.
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Oddsmakers Weren’t Betting on Cousins?
It’s impossible to look at Cousins’ past when considering his future production. At one time Cousins was the best big man in basketball about to enter the prime of his career, and he was posting numbers no other center had in the history of the NBA.
The last time DeMarcus Cousins was healthy (playing for the Pelicans in 2017-18), he became the first player in NBA history to average more than:— Tommy Beer (@TommyBeer) August 15, 2019
5 assists and
2 made 3-pointers per game in the same season.
But then injuries took over. Even prior to the reported ACL tear, the 29-year-old big man had suffered a torn Achilles and partially torn quad in the last 19 months.
Cousins was benched for the likes of Andrew Bogut and Kevon Looney during the NBA Finals, where he averaged a meager 8.3 points on 43% shooting and4.7 rebounds in 18.0 minutes. He didn’t sign with the Lakers until July 6 after many of the high-profile free agents were off the board.
Oddsmakers’ decision to not move the Lakers’ title odds show that perhaps they weren’t expecting much from Cousins, even if he remained healthy. It’s possible that Cousins was only going to be able to contribute in a limited fashion, relegating him to a role position behind James and Davis. The Lakers will be able to add at the trade deadline in February and potentially in the buyout market in March. They’ll miss Cousins, but the injury-riddled center should be replaceable in some fashion.
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