The Lakers have been without its main man down low, Anthony Davis, recently, and his absence is taking a toll on the team’s fortunes. Davis has been sidelined since he limped off the court after reaggravating his Achilles in a 122-105 blowout loss to the Nuggets in a Valentine’s Day massacre. AD is expected to be out until at least April. If things keep going the way they are, then that could be fatal to LA’s hopes of earning the top seed in the West as they did last season.
Los Angeles is now 1-4 since Davis got injured, and their record at the Staples Center is only 9-7 compared to their sterling 13-3 mark on the road. LA’s only victory came against the lowly Minnesota Timberwolves, and their latest performance was a 107-104 overtime loss to the Wizards. Those who are inclined to put their money where their mouth is, the Lakers are just 2-7 against the spread, and the NBA lines on their game against Washington revealed LA as seven-point home favorites.
The Lakers have also been without point guard Dennis Schroder due to COVID-19 protocols. The team has clearly lost its mojo, and LA forward Kyle Kuzma commented on their recent struggles after the loss, “It takes a whole team to collectively get wins, and right now we have two of our main rotation guys out,” said Kuzma, who had 14 points. “Obviously, there’s no excuses. You don’t want to lose to an under-.500 team like that, but this is the NBA, and anybody can win. We just have to figure it out.”
The minutes LeBron James has been playing and the wear and tear it could be having on his 36-year-old body is a concern but apparently not to him. Former NBA player, Antoine Walker, shared his thoughts via Twitter and in a broadcast interview with “First Things First” on FS1.
Walker tweeted, “If I’m the Lakers, I’m thinking about adding a piece. Blake Griffin can make a big impact and give you something off the bench. You’re gonna wear LeBron out if you don’t make a move.”
“The Lakers are in a world of trouble right now,” three-time NBA All-Star Antoine Walker told “First Things First” on FS1. “If I am the Lakers, I am thinking about adding a piece. You are going to wear LeBron out in this situation if you don’t make some kind of move. This is a big situation. This is about more than four weeks.”
As for Lebron, the King is not complaining and will welcome his team to climb on his back as the Lakers ride out the storm until Davis returns.
“I think this whole narrative of ‘LeBron needs more rest,’ or I should take more rest, or I should take time here, it’s become a lot bigger than what it actually is,” James said following the Los Angeles Lakers’ 127-124 overtime loss to the Washington Wizards, courtesy of ESPN’s Dave McMenamin.
“We all need more rest, s***. This is a fast turnaround from last season, and we all wish we could have more rest. But I’m here to work, I’m here to punch my clock in and be available to my teammates,” James added.
Lakers Waive Goodbye to Cook
Five-year veteran, Quinn Cook, will be placed on waivers after helping the Lakers secure a world championship last season. Because his contract was not guaranteed, his release will not impact the salary cap and will allow LA more room to sign one or two role players.
LA needs to ramp up its offense and get more physical around the rim. Some have speculated they may bring back DeMarcus Cousins after Houston waived him over the weekend. Others point to Sacramento’s Hassan Whiteside as a possible trade target, particularly since his minutes have fallen with the return of Richaun Holmes after a three-game sabbatical.
Once the Kings’ other players heal up and get back into the rotation, Whiteside could be the odd man out in Luke Walton’s offense. This could allow a swap that would benefit both teams as the Lakers could utilize Whiteside’s skill set more effectively than currently employed.
Only time will tell, but the Lakers need to do something because although LeBron isn’t complaining now, he could be out of gas by the time the playoffs roll around. And if that is the case, having Anthony Davis back on the court won’t do much good if LeBron gets injured or is simply worn out for the postseason. That would mean the Lakers are a one-and-done championship team, and that’s not what LA fans envisioned when the season started. Stay tuned!