Whether free agent Lamar Odom stays in Los Angeles or leaves for the Miami Heat, Las Vegas bookmakers said Monday they don't anticipate anything that would drop the Lakers from their perch as preseason favorites to win the NBA championship -- again.
"Getting [forward Ron] Artest is better than losing Lamar," said Jay Rood, director of the MGM/Mirage Race and Sports Book. The Lakers signed free agent Artest this month. "The core of that team still is what it is, and as long as you keep Kobe [Bryant] and [Coach] Phil [Jackson], nothing changes."
At MGM/Mirage, the Lakers are an 8-5 favorite to win the NBA title, followed by the Boston Celtics, and recent addition Rasheed Wallace, at 3-1, and the Cleveland Cavaliers, with Shaquille O'Neal joining LeBron James, at nearly 4-1. The Orlando Magic are 13-2 and the San Antonio Spurs are 7-1.
"We didn't change anything when they got Artest, and if they lose Odom it'll just be a wash," said Jay Kornegay, executive director of the Las Vegas Hilton's Race and Sports book, which has the Lakers as the 2-1 favorite over the 3-1 Cavaliers and 5-1 Celtics.
"Odom's a component, but he's not a star. As that team has already shown, if they lose someone, they'll find someone else."
Those who assess these situations, with millions of dollars on the line, believe the possible loss of Odom will not diminish support for what is essentially Las Vegas' hometown team.
So why change the Lakers' odds to 3-1 or 4-1 when the betting action supporting the team is already intense?
Glad to hear that the Lakers are the favorites once again, however this article is garbage. Ron Artest MIGHT cancel out the lose of Odom to some people, but they completely ignore the lose of Ariza. Ariza had a lot of big plays for the Lakers in teh playoffs and throughout the season.
"The core of that team still is what it is, and as long as you keep Kobe [Bryant] and [Coach] Phil [Jackson], nothing changes."
This quote is so off its mind boggling. Bring back Smush and Kwame.... EVERYTHING changes.
If I could, I would trade Artest for Ariza in an instant. I really hope Ron proves me wrong this upcoming season. With the growth of Bynum, I feel that Ariza would have been the perfect SF to have on the team. Artest will demand touches which will further reduce the touches Pau and Andrew get. We all know for a fact that Phil will not cut out Pau, therefore Drew will get less touches then he did last season. The key for a 22 year old center who is coming off a big injury is to get touches, Ariza was a perfect role player to have because he did not need the ball. He was a perfect off the ball scorer, who didn't care if he had the ball in his hand.
Artest will get frustrated at times and start creating offense himself; that's not what triangle is about and that's among other things what worries me. I really hope Ron can adjust into the triangle and realize that he is just a key role player to us. His man to man defense is invaluable and that will help Kobe reserve his energy through out the season. I consider those two to be the best perimeter defenders in the league; it would be a pleasure to watch them work their assignment all game long.
^story up you're speculating that artest will demand and need touches. no one knows if that is the case.
benefits to artest being on the team over ariza:
artest can play multiple positions, he can post up, he can defend one on one extremely well, and he's a vocal leader for team defense.
i don't think he will demand touches to the point that the team must sacrifice what we want to do... just my two cents
What I noticed about Ron through out his career is that when he is hot or when he is struggling with his shot; he will alienate his teammates and start doing dumb things.
He is clearly a better player then Ariza and brings elements to this team that Trevor simply couldn't; I would absolutely love for Ron to preserve his energy for defensive assignments and being a spot up shooter. When Kobe & Pau are on the bench carry the offensive load with his low post scoring. That would be ideal for us as a team.
But he does tend to take some ill advised shots; just to clarify Artest is like one of my favorite personalities and players in this league. I loved Trevor and enjoyed watching him grow, and there is no denying that we have more talent at the SF position now. But there are some negative points to signing Ron; it's up to him to understand what is needed of him on this team.
PS - I do think Artest will demand touches, he is a 20 PPG scorer in this league. I think it's logical to assume that replacing Artest with Ariza will further reduce Bynum's touches. Artest is a good low post scorer, he will clearly demand the ball on occasions; something Ariza never needed to do because he was a good off the ball scorer. It's not a bad thing because we have more offensive prowess now; but Artest does have Kobe's tendencies when things don't go his way (ball hogging).
In the past Artest has at times demanded touches and gotten them, but there is a big difference between then and now. The biggest difference being Kobe! This is Kobe's team and everyone knows it, if Ron wants a ring he is going to step in line and do whatever the team needs... just like Ariza brought to the table.
I think whats going to be missed the most is Ariza's hustle. He never gave up on a play and he brought a lot of speed and athleticism. The off the ball cuts and movement was a nice facet of Ariza's game. I personally don't see that coming from Artest, but maybe I am wrong. Artest is a better defender and he brings different looks on the offensive end as was stated earlier.
The Lakers should be good again, and hopefully they will be able to improve their defense, especially against the pick and roll. Kobe will continue to need to be a team player instead of playing for individual glory.