The Los Angeles Lakers were primetime favorites to defend their NBA Championship in the 2020-21 season. Adding Dennis Schroder and Marc Gasol to their roster, LA Lakers hit the season up and running since their pre-season friendlies. But with their marquee superstars Anthony Davis and LeBron James being reposed to the side-lines due to respective injuries, the defending champions have had a rough patch falling from no.2 in the Western Conference to no.5.
While Brooklyn Nets kept adding superstars to their squad, Lakers kept falling behind with consecutive losses. As both their key offensive players sat out, there was no one in the roster to take up charge to lead the team. However, the time for LA Lakers fans to rejoice has nearly come as both their superstars are on the verge of return.
What happened to Anthony Davis?
Davis re-aggravated his foot on February 14, after experiencing lingering soreness in the weeks prior. The injury was diagnosed as Achilles tendon discomfort, then re-labeled to a right calf strain. Anthony Davis was averaging 22.5 points, 8.4 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game until he aggravated his Achilles injury. Not only that, his defensive help was also pivotal for the LA Lakers as he registered almost 2 steals per game against his name. Anthony Davis ensured that the defending champions were always able to score within the paint. His accuracy from the 3-point line before February 14 was more than 38%.
What happened to LeBron James?
LeBron James was considered the MVP of the 2020-21 regular season before he got injured against Atlanta Hawks on March 20. Hawks’ Solomon Hill divided onto the ball, wherein he got LeBron James’ ankle on the ways. As a result, King James sprained his right ankle and had to leave the game in that very quarter. However, before his injury, LeBron James was averaging 25.4 points, 7.9 rebounds and 8 assist per game.
What’s next for Lakers?
The LA Lakers acquired Andre Drummond mid-season in the hopes of stringing together big men, who can score easily in the paint and also are key defensively. Both LeBron James and Anthony Davis led the Los Angeles Lakers to their 17th Championship triumph with the strategy of scoring from the first quarter in the paint, rather than attempting shots from the 3-point line.
Talking about that, the LA Lakers have never focused on improving their shooters from behind the arc. That is where, LeBron James’ rugged strength and Anthony Davis’ jumpers could come in handy. Bringing in big men will help LA Lakers get the upper hand in fetching rebounds, their recent display against Brooklyn Nets was an elite example of that.
Given there are 16 games left for the LA Lakers before they make it into the playoffs, with a string of road games lined up, Anthony Davis and LeBron James seem all set to return by the end of this month to bridge their gap from the other teams to secure a playoff spot.