In the midst of their historic comeback in Dallas Sunday afternoon, the Los Angeles Lakers had bigger things to worry about. Franchise player LeBron James went down and repeated that he heard a “pop”, consistently grabbing that ailing right foot. Though James finished the game and capped off the Lakers massive comeback, the forward could miss 2-3 weeks of action. In the midst of a huge uphill battle and playoff push, it remains to be seen if the new look Lakers can tread water without one of their stars.
New Look Lakeshow
Since pulling off an A+ level trade deadline, the Lakers seemingly have a roster built that can afford to miss one of their stars. The predicament is that L.A. is currently in an uphill battle to make the post-season. James was playing at an all-time level which is nothing new, but the Lakers will sorely miss him for this crucial stretch.
The Lakeshow simply need to have a next man up mentality. The roster very complete, but the deadline pieces that they acquired along with the talent they already have need to find ways to make up for James’ absence which they are fully capable of.
Arguably the biggest piece out of the new additions is D’Angelo Russell who still hasn’t returned from his ankle injury that he suffered against Golden State. The former All-Star guard is going to have to be the second best player on the team during this stretch. Russell has shown in the past to be a very formidable first option with the Brooklyn Nets. With a complete roster around him and Davis, the Lakers should at the very least be able to stay afloat.
Of course, the biggest catalyst to this Lakers run will be Anthony Davis. Davis had a stretch in January-February where he easily looked like a top five player in the association. For the Lakers to dig themselves out of the 12th seed and at least make the play-in, Davis needs to return to form and be the player everyone knows he can be. With this new roster around him, there is really no excuse for Davis to not be a top three two-way player in the league.
As Davis will surely have more demands put on his body, it remains to be questions surrounding if he can stand it during this stretch. The Brow hasn’t cracked the 70 game mark since the 2017-18 season. The Lakers not only need him to be available, but also dominant during this stretch.
When healthy, the Lakers could very well see themselves in the Western Conference finals if they’re able to reach their ceiling. It seemed that they were hitting their stride as a new team before this huge blow. With Pelinka and company restructuring the roster, it seems way more complete and ready to compete whether James it there or not. This 21 game run hinges on how Anthony Davis and the new key pieces play and continue to gel. We could very well see the Lakers go into playoff mode early, as every game down the stretch is seemingly a must win for this uphill climb.
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