It looks like the Los Angeles Lakers are prepared to go on a lengthy run without a healthy star player on their roster. The team didn’t end up pulling off a move at the trade deadline and while the buyout market will have some solid options, they aren’t likely to find a major difference-maker. Things could get really tough for Los Angeles.
To make matters worse, it appears LeBron James will miss more time than originally expected. According to Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium, the superstar could miss between four and six weeks.
That would be a significant amount of time for the Lakers to be without their best player. The Western Conference is very tight right now so it wouldn’t take much for Los Angeles to fall out of the top-eight seeds. They are only 5.5 games ahead of the ninth seed Memphis Grizzlies. If the Lakers can only muster a couple of wins until LeBron is back, there’s a real chance they will need to do some work to get back into the playoff race.
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Anthony Davis Could Return Before LeBron
Charania also noted in the video that Anthony Davis could be back in about two weeks. He’s been out for a while now and the Lakers aren’t going to rush him back even with LeBron out. If he can actually come back in two weeks, that puts the team in a much better spot.
They wouldn’t have to play too many games without a superstar on the court. It could be between eight and 10 games before Davis is back. If the Lakers can at least win three or four of those games, then they shouldn’t have to worry too much about the playoffs. It’s easy to forget that Davis is one of the best players in the world due to his injury issues and lackluster season so far. However, Los Angeles should be able to win plenty of games as long as he can start playing at a high level again. Leading the Lakers to some win without LeBron by his side could cement his status as one of the NBA’s top superstars.
Should Lakers Be Worried?
Things are not ideal for the Lakers right now. Prior to Davis getting hurt, they easily looked like the best team in the NBA. They slumped a little bit without him but LeBron was getting them back on track. Without either of them, the team is no threat to make the playoffs.
That’s not to say the Lakers don’t have good players. Dennis Schroder, Montrezl Harrell and Kyle Kuzma are all very capable. That said, they’re not good enough to compete in the West without some star power helping them. It’s too early for the Lakers to panic quite yet. LeBron is not a normal athlete. It’s possible he heals up in a couple of weeks and gets the team back on track. If he misses six weeks and Los Angeles goes on a losing streak, then it might be time to worry.