LeBron James and the LA Lakers are going through major turbulence in the ongoing NBA season. The kind that is capable of shaking mountains off their footing. Frank Vogel’s squad has faced multiple formidable adversaries in a mere three weeks of playing. At the moment, the league and all its paradigms have become critical of the aging squad.
The constant woes that have plagued the LA Lakers, who have an average player age of 30, are inescapable injuries. LeBron James is the latest victim of this foe. His team has played nine games, lost four and won five of them. The former Cleveland Cavaliers star missed three of those games, two of which resulted in a loss. According to the latest injury updates, LeBron James is all set to miss his fourth game of the season.
In an article dated November 5, Dave McMenamin, an NBA writer for ESPN, reported the aftermath of what transpired in the game between the LA Lakers and Houston Rockets. During the fourth quarter of the game, LeBron told Vogel that he felt “something pulling” in his abdominal regions. Based on McMenamin’s report, Vogel told him:
“When he came over to the bench he just said he felt something pulling, was able to finish the game, but then obviously discovered there was something there after the game.”
LeBron James is expected to make a return after a week of recovering from an abdominal strain. In our match preview, we predicted how Vogel would cope with the absence of the team’s commander and chief on the court.
The impact of LeBron James’ absence for the LA Lakers
The LA Lakers started the season without Talen Horton-Tucker, Kendrick Nunn and Trevor Ariza. They have played much of the ongoing season without impactful bench depth. James is averaging 24.8 points, seven assists and 2.3 steals per game. Despite the constant stream of “you are old” chants thrown his way, he is landing 2.8 threes per game, the best three-point average of his entire career.
WIth James, the LA Lakers have an asset that can not only score than 20+ points but also defend and stretch the defense. LeBron James is also an able playmaker. Without James, the Showtime Lakers have three players – Carmelo Anthony, Russell Westbrook and Anthony Davis – who can reliably score but have virtually no bench scorers.
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Gold and purple are currently averaging 112.3 points per game, four of their players are contributing 87.4 of these points, the rest of the bench is contributing only 24.9 points per game. The LA Lakers need to take urgent steps to strengthen their bench because injuries in a quickly aging squad will be inescapable.