It’s safe to say that very few people likely believed the Los Angeles Lakers would come out of the NBA All-Star break with a record below .500. But that’s proven to be the case as LeBron James and company are 28-29 heading into the homestretch of the season. As things currently stand, they’re on the outside looking in when it comes to the playoffs and have quite a bit of work to do in order to make up ground.
Although the Lakers have been without James for 18 games this season, which certainly impacted the current outlook, they now have very little room for error moving forward. There are 25 games left on the schedule and Los Angeles is three games back of the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference.
While the Los Angeles Clippers currently hold that final playoff spot with a 32-27 record, the Sacramento Kings (30-27) also have a two-game edge on the Lakers. The key stretch begins Thursday against James Harden and the Houston Rockets, and getting a win in this game would be a big start. let’s dive into the Lakers’ odds and outlook to make the 2019 NBA Playoffs.
Lakers Current Playoff Odds & Outlook
There are a number of ways to evaluate a team’s chances to make the playoffs, and we looked at three sites who have different systems to offer predictions. We’ll start with a breakdown which comes courtesy of FiveThirtyEight. The data and stats-driven site offered two different sets of odds for the Lakers to make the playoffs thanks to a pair of projection options.
The first system is called the Elo system which is their standard route of projections, while the second is called CARMELO and uses team depth charts and updated player ratings. Here’s how FiveThirtyEight views the Lakers’ playoff chances in both:
- Elo System: 9 percent (39-43 final record)
- CARMELO System: 23 percent (40-42 final record)
Next up is ESPN’s NBA Basketball Power Index (BPI) which was updated just after the start of the NBA All-Star break. This simulates the season 10,000 times and provides a record projection as well.
- ESPN’s BPI: 5.8 percent (39-43)
Finally, Basketball-Reference.com runs 7,500 simulations for the remainder of the season to project the chances of a team making the playoffs. Once again, the Lakers found themselves on the outside looking in and were actually given the lowest percentage of any system.
- Basketball-Reference: 4.9 percent (39.2-42.8)
Each site with the exception of the CARMELO system on FiveThirtyEight gave both the Clippers and Kings a better chance of making the playoffs than the Lakers. And in that system, LeBron and company were ahead of Sacramento but still behind the team they share Staples Center with.