If you didn’t hear, LeBron James suffered a high grade ankle sprain on March 20th, against the Atlanta Hawks, ruling him out indefinitely, per Adrian Worjanowski’s report. In the Lakers 99-94 loss to the Hawks, Solomon Hill collided with James and ended up landing on his ankle. LeBron screamed in pain when the injury occurred, and knocked over a chair in frustration.
“I haven’t necessarily seen him scream and scowl like that probably ever.”Kyle Kuzma on LeBron James’ injury
Many of LeBron’s teammates, including Dennis Schroder and Montrezl Harrell, believed the injury was intentional. However, Solomon Hill took to Twitter to put those rumors to rest.
Aside from James, big man Anthony Davis is also out of commission, meaning the dynamic duo that won the 2020 NBA Championship is on the IR. The team clearly revolves around the two stars, but how much will their absence affect the team’s playoff seeding and championship hopes?
The Lakers sit in the third seed of the Western Conference (as of the writing of this blog) with a record of 28-14. The two teams ahead of them are the Phoenix Suns (27-13) and the Utah Jazz (30-11). The Western Conference is stacked with talent, and with both LeBron and AD on the sideline, the Lakers will find it difficult to win games. Their third option is either Kyle Kuzma, Marc Gasol, Dennis Schroder, or Montrezl Harrell (up for you to decide), and while they have talent, it’s nowhere near that of the two All-NBA 1st Team stars. This is much like the 2017 Lakers, who had All-Stars Julius Randle and D’Angelo Russell, but neither were in their primes. This roster is better than the Kobe-less and LeBron-less Lakers, but not by too much.
My prediction is that the Lakers will have trouble just staying at .500 as the season progresses without the two stars. The Western Conference is stacked with teams competing for a title, such as the Los Angeles Clippers (Kawhi Leonard and Paul George), the Denver Nuggets (Nikola Jokic, Jamal Murray, a talented young nucleus of players), the Mavericks (Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis), the Warriors (Steph Curry and …I don’t know who their second option is at this point), as well as many more.
Aside from the team, LeBron will find difficulty in bringing home the MVP award if he’s not on the court. According to ESPN Stats & Info, this will be only the 5th time in LeBron’s career that he will miss at least five consecutive games. On the March 5th Kia MVP rankings, LeBron was ranked third, behind Joel Embiid and Nikola Jokic, but in front of Damian Lillard and Luka Doncic.
“Nothing angers and saddens me more than not being available to and for my teammates! I’m hurt inside and out right now. 🤦🏾♂️. The road back from recovery begins now. Back soon like I never left. #ThekidfromAKRON🤴🏾LeBron James took to twitter about his injury
It will be interesting to see how the Lakers fare without James and Davis, and who will attempt to rise up in their absence. Will it be Talen Horton-Tucker, the man who dropped 33 points in a preseason game when neither superstar was playing? Will it be Montrezl Harrell, the former 6th Man of the Year? Will it be someone else completely? Let me know what you think in the comments below, don’t forget to follow the blog if you haven’t already, and as always, have an awesome day!