The Los Angeles Lakers are in a brutal spot currently, and any loss at this point in the year has the chance to severely damage their chances to make the 2019 NBA Playoffs. Unfortunately, that proved to be true after the team’s loss to the Anthony Davis-less New Orleans Pelicans this weekend. While the Lakers are in the midst of a tough stretch of six-straight seasons without a playoff berth, the expectation was that the addition of LeBron James could turn the tides.
James has made the postseason in every year since he was 21, dating back to the 2005-06 season, his third in the NBA. But following the 128-114 loss to New Orleans, the Lakers’ playoff chances and overall odds took a hit and they now need to navigate their way out of a slightly bigger hole.
Heading into Monday’s action and their game against the Memphis Grizzlies, the Lakers have a 29-30 record. This leaves them three games back of the Los Angeles Clippers and San Antonio Spurs for either the No. 7 or 8 seed. But beyond the Clippers and Spurs, LeBron and company need to get past the Sacramento Kings, who are just one game out of the final playoff spot.
Lakers’ Playoff Chances & Updated Odds
Coming out of the NBA All-Star break we looked at the odds from three different sites and four projection systems to get an idea of where the Lakers stand. At that time, the outlook was bleak, but it’s gotten even worse since. Let’s go through each of the projections and see how they’ve changed since before Los Angeles defeated the Houston Rockets and then fell to the Pelicans.
To start, we’ll look at FiveThirtyEight, which offers two different systems to generate playoff odds. The first is the Elo system which is the site’s primary system, while the second is called CARMELO and uses team depth charts and updated player ratings. The latter was far more optimistic than the former, but here’s a look at how both have changed since the All-Star break.
- Elo System: 9 percent down to 8 percent
- CARMELO System: 23 percent down to 21 percent
The ESPN NBA Basketball Power Index (BPI) simulates the season 10,000 times and features a system developed by their analytics team. The updated projection and outlook for the Lakers has fallen here as well, and they’re giving the team a less than 0.1 percent chance to win the NBA title.
- ESPN’s BPI: 5.8 percent down to 4.8 percent
Basketball-Reference.com runs their own set of simulations a total of 7,500 times to evaluate odds and playoff chances. They previously had the Lakers’ chances the lowest of any site at 4.9 percent, and they’ve since fallen more.
- Basketball-Reference: 4.9 percent down to 3.9 percent
The Lakers face the Clippers two more times this season, the Kings once and they won’t see the Spurs again. Of their 23 remaining games, 12 are at home, although one of the two Clippers matchups is listed as a road game. In the middle of this final stretch, the Lakers have a five-game road trip with games against the Toronto Raptors, Milwaukee Bucks and Detroit Pistons, who are also pushing for a playoff spot.