NBA superstar LeBron James to miss several weeks – what this means for the Lakers
Earlier today, The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported that NBA superstar and Lakers MVP candidate LeBron James is expected to miss several weeks with a high right ankle sprain.
The injury to LeBron occurred at the start of the 2nd quarter, when the Los Angeles Lakers played the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday.
As LeBron gathered a loose ball, Atlanta’s Solomon Hill fell on LeBron’s ankle and subsequently rolled it, to which LeBron immediately went down in pain.
As LeBron headed back to the locker room, his actions summarised what all Lakers fans were feeling at that moment, as he flipped a chair in sheer frustration.
Already without NBA star Anthony Davis and now LeBron, what effect could this have on the Lakers’ season?
Lakers will most likely fall in the NBA Western Conference rankings
With Davis set to miss another few weeks, at least, with a strained right calf, and LeBron now set to miss several weeks too, the Lakers are without a doubt going to slide down the NBA Western Conference rankings.
This isn’t really surprising. Take the best two players out of any NBA team and they’re bound to struggle in their absence, especially when those players are LeBron James and Anthony Davis – one of the most feared duos in the NBA.
The Lakers still have a decent roster that includes Montrezl Harrell, Dennis Schroder and Kyle Kuzma – but the impact that LeBron and Davis have on the Lakers is irreplaceable.
The Lakers currently sit at third in the NBA Western Conference with a record of 28-15, with their neighbours, the Los Angeles Clippers, just 1 game behind, whilst the Denver Nuggets and Portland Trailblazers just 2.5 games behind.
Should the Lakers finish the NBA regular season below 5th, not only will they not have home court advantage going into the NBA playoffs, but they’ll also have a tough first round opponent to deal with.
This means that the health and recovery of both LeBron and Davis are crucial. In other words, the Lakers must not rush the comeback of their two NBA superstars to guarantee they’ll be in top condition come playoff time.
"This is the second most significant injury of LeBron James' career. The earliest we'd see him on the floor is a month from now. … When we see him play again it'll probably be for the 7-seed."@getnickwright reacts to LeBron's injury: pic.twitter.com/oZLVceEoOW
— First Things First (@FTFonFS1) March 22, 2021
With NBA trade deadline coming up, Lakers must pursue new additions
As Jovan Buha reported, Lakers head coach Frank Vogel has said how LeBron’s injury could impact how the Lakers approach the trade deadline as well as the buyout market – with Buha believing they’ll be more aggressive.
Personally, I think this is super necessary, even if LeBron hadn’t got injured. Now, with LeBron, Davis and also Lakers big-man Marc Gasol out with injuries, the Lakers have a pretty small (albeit still very tall compared to the average human) roster.
Should they come up against teams with an efficient centre, they could get bullied – evident in their game on Sunday evening against the Phoenix Suns, where Deandre Ayton scored 26 points and grabbed 8 rebounds, shooting an incredible 76.9% from the field.
One player that has been rumoured for some time now for the Lakers and one that would definitely provide some steel under the basket is Andre Drummond.
This acquisition all relies on if the Cleveland Cavaliers buy out his contract. Furthermore, the Lakers will be hoping Drummond isn’t traded before the trade deadline on Thursday 25th March – with the Dallas Mavericks reportedly interested in trading for him.
"The Lakers have been involved in some talks for a guard, their big play is if Andre Drummond gets bought out." pic.twitter.com/o4ng05JCvG
— pickuphoop (@pickuphoop) March 21, 2021
As ESPN’s Brian Windhorst reported, the Lakers are also in talks to add another guard to their roster.
Whilst they already have Schroder and Alex Caruso as their main ball-handlers, along with sophomore guard Talen Horton-Tucker, a more experienced guard to ease the pressure off Schroder and Caruso could be a worthwhile addition.
Earlier this month, Houston Rockets guard Victor Oladipo, someone that the Lakers have been linked to recently, uploaded a photo to social media of him rocking a Lakers jersey – sending Lakers fans into meltdown.
However, even if the Lakers did want this trade to happen, it would be near impossible considering Oladipo’s $21 million salary and the Lakers already eye-watering wage bill.
Therefore, free agent and former top NBA point guard, Isaiah Thomas, would be a more realistic option for the reigning champions.
Although Thomas averaged 28.9 points and 5.9 assists for the Boston Celtics in the 2016-2017 season, he hasn’t been the same since, with reoccurring injuries plaguing him.
But with the Lakers desperate for more fire power, especially since the Brooklyn Nets signed Blake Griffin, it’s a risk they may have to take if they want to keep their title hopes for this season alive.Leave a comment