NBA West contender tiers: Biggest threats to the Lakers

    Kirk Goldsberry (@kirkgoldsberry) is a professor and an NBA analyst for ESPN.

The race for the NBA’s Western Conference title is wide open.

While the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers remain the favorites, they’ve got injury problems and they’re dropping in the standings. Meanwhile, a fascinating group of challengers are hoping to dethrone LeBron James and take hold of that West crown.

Looking at the betting odds courtesy of Caesars Sportsbook, four distinct tiers of Finals contenders emerge out West. Let’s take a look at the teams most likely to surpass the Lakers in the postseason.

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