The Los Angeles Lakers may look a bit different when they hit the floor in Orlando, Florida, with guard Avery Bradley opting not to participate and center Dwight Howard considering the same. That doesn't mean they're less likely to succeed.
In fact, starting center Anthony Davis believes L.A.'s odds of winning a championship this season improved after the hiatus.
"If anything, our chances got higher because we're rested," Davis told the Associated Press' Greg Beacham. "It's just going to be about what team wants it more, and which team can stay healthy."
Bradley, whose roster spot was filled when the team signed JR Smith, is taking precautions by staying home with his family. One of his young children has a history of struggling to recover from respiratory illness, per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski. Lakers coach Frank Vogel, on a media call, said the club won't seek a replacement for Howard if he opts out.
Howard is considering staying home following the death of the mother of one of his children in March to help care for his kids.
Caesars Sportsbook has the Lakers at +180 (bet $100 to win $180) and the odds-on favorite to win the title when the league resumes play at the end of July.
Los Angeles was already considered a championship contender when the season first began and has done little to sway anyone's opinion. The club entered the March 11 stoppage at 49-14—the second-best record in the league behind the 53-12 Milwaukee Bucks.
By the time the Lakers tip off against the Los Angeles Clippers on July 30, 142 days will have passed since their last regular-season game.
Davis believes that's allowed his teammates to rest and get healthy as they prepare for an end-of-season sprint to the NBA Finals.
Between him and LeBron James, there is more than enough talent on the roster to make that happen. At this point, it'll be more surprising if the Lakers don't capture their 17th Larry O'Brien Trophy.