Lakers Were Favorites to Win 2023 NBA Championship For 3 Hours

Lakers Were Favorites to Win 2023 NBA Championship For 3 Hours article feature image

Keith Birmingham/MediaNews Group/Pasadena Star-News via Getty Images. Pictured: LeBron James #6 of the Los Angeles Lakers.

  • The Los Angeles Lakers were the favorites to win the NBA Championship for a few hours on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning.
  • While that's since changed, it's a remarkable turnaround for a team that sat 13th in the Western Conference just three months ago.
  • Read about why the Lakers were favorites for just a few hours, where they stand now and where we go from here.

For at least a few hours on Tuesday night bleeding into Wednesday morning, the Los Angeles Lakers are the favorites to win the NBA Championship for the first time since 2021.

At DraftKings at 10 p.m. ET on Tuesday, the Lakers were +325 favorites to win the title. That was on account of the Boston Celtics' loss to the Philadelphia 76ers, which puts Boston in a 3-2 hole and forced into a grueling Game 6 in Philadelphia on Thursday.

The Celtics had been the odds-on favorite to win it all.

The Lakers' odds didn't last, of course. The Nuggets leapfrogged them after romping the Suns 118-102 later that night, becoming the +300 odds-on favorite. The Lakers are still the second-best favorite at +340 at the sportsbook.

But for at least a few hours, the Lakers were atop the mountain. And given the Lakers' standing a mere three months ago, it's one of the most remarkable midseason turnarounds in recent memory.

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The team had been in the absolute doldrums in the leadup to the trade deadline, placing 13th in the Western Conference with odds as poor as +200 to make the playoffs.

But the moves they made at that deadline have transformed this team from a plodding mess into a well-oiled machine. Rui Hachimura provides elite spacing across the floor and has shown his three point chops. Jarred Vanderbilt is a matchup nightmare, and has admirably guarded Steph Curry throughout a series in which the Lakers are up three games to one on the defending champions.

And, perhaps most importantly, the team took touches away from Russell Westbrook, who had been hampering the team's offensive production for the better part of two seasons.

The team has gone 25-11 since deadline day — including an upset series victory over the upstart Grizzlies.

The job's not even close to finished yet. But for one night, the Lakers topped the leaderboard for the first time since showing your vaccine card was mandatory at restaurants.

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