How Far Will The Lakers Fall Without LeBron James? | Sports Takes & News | TooAthletic.com
“High ankle sprain” are three words that no athlete wants to hear, but when that athlete is LeBron James, most of Los Angeles is now forced to deal with its reality. That’s what happened when James was injured on Saturday, suffering a high ankle sprain that is expected to knock out the MVP candidate for several weeks. With the team already fighting for Western Conference playoff seeding without Anthony Davis, how far will the Lakers fall without LeBron James?
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) March 20, 2021
LeBron James appeared to tweak his right ankle, per @mcten.
He returned to the game briefly before heading to the locker room pic.twitter.com/GYaCkP52bb
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) March 20, 2021
The Lakers traveled to Phoenix Sunday night in a virtual tie for second place in the West, 2 ½ games behind the conference leading Utah Jazz, but equally as close to being the fifth or sixth seed. Meaning they would likely never have home court advantage in any postseason series they play this year. With their two best players, Anthony Davis and now LeBron James both sidelined with injuries, their place in the standings is almost certainly in jeopardy of worsening until they are full strength again.
LeBron's behind the Lakers' bench with a boot on his injured right ankle. pic.twitter.com/91vJoOT0fc
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) March 22, 2021
LeBron James has always been against resting during the season, something known as “workload management” in today’s NBA. With the absence of Davis, the 36-year-old has been playing more minutes in recent weeks, something that was proving to hurt LeBron James’ production on the court. Now, with James unable to play for an indefinite period of time, the fate of the Lakers season may be decided in March and April, not in May when the playoff are scheduled to begin.
It was becoming well known around the NBA that James was looking to win another MVP award this year, which was part of the reason why the future Hall of Famer was pushing himself so hard without Anthony Davis on the court. While the injury he suffered against Atlanta left James saying, “I’m hurt inside, and I’m out,” fans are forced to wonder where some wins will come from.
day 1 without LeBron pic.twitter.com/ROfQW4iQvC
— LakeShowYo (@LakeShowYo) March 22, 2021
It is doubtful the Purple and Gold will be able to maintain their pace of winning two out of every three games without both Davis and James, so the question is do the Lakers have enough of a cushion to withstand their absence for weeks.
The Lakers have only fifteen games in their loss column ahead of the Dallas Mavericks, who are currently the eighth seed in the West with 42 of the season’s 72 games in the books before Sunday night’s matchup. That means a prolonging losing streak, or a streak that sees the Lakers play sub .500 ball for too long will assuredly hurt their seeding in the short-term, and with the West so deep, it may be too much of a slide for even Davis and James to reverse. That’s means the defense of their recent title rests in the hands of their bench and role players, a position that will likely derail their season as their stars are on the sidelines watching.
Sure, James will likely come back, but how healthy he will be and how he will be able to handle playing intense playoff basketball with an injury that probably won’t be fully healed when he returns isn’t a promising prospect.
Sorry Lakers fans, but it looks like your asterisk trophy from last year will be a one-year wonder since there is no back-to-back likely in your future this summer. And as for LeBron, I think he can kiss that MVP trophy goodbye since the most important ability is availability, and for LeBron James, one of the best players ever, even he can’t help win games from the bench.
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How Far Will The Lakers Fall Without LeBron James? | TooAthletic.com
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