LeBron’s Injury Leaves Lakers in State of Panic


The entire Los Angeles Lakers’ organization and Laker nation saw their season flash before their eyes as LeBron James let out a bellowing scream after hitting the hardwood last Saturday afternoon.

You have already seen the video and read all the reports. LeBron has incurred a high-ankle sprain that has ruled him out for the foreseeable future. This injury could not have come at a worse time for a team already down one superstar in Anthony Davis. Losing them both puts the team at a massive disadvantage.

The rest of the roster will be asked the uncomfortable–  to keep the team afloat in the unpredictable Western Conference. The organization must also make the necessary moves to keep the team a contender until their two superstars are healed.

These changes will obviously not happen overnight, but here are some things that must happen while LeBron and AD are out.

An Elevated Kuzma

If there ever was a time for Kyle Kuzma to prove he can be the Lakers’ third scorer after LeBron and AD, this is the time. Kuzma needs to be the focal point of the Lakeshow during this (hopefully) short, superstar-less squad. He has all the intangibles to do so with his three-point shooting and ability to get to the basket off the dribble. We have seen his offensive outbursts this season with double-doubles in multiple games, showing his capability to control the game. He seems to be gaining more confidence and showing shades of the Kuzma we expected to see after his rookie season.

So far this season, Kuz has averaged 12.4 points and 6.7 rebounds in 44 games played. In his last 10 games alone, he has averaged 16.8 points and 8.0 rebounds per contest. Kuz will see his averages (and minutes) inflate even further.

Staying consistent, however, has been something Kuz has struggled with in his career and must fix now. There can’t be any more off nights where he scores below 10 points and shoots sub-30 percent from the field. He will have help of course, as Dennis Schroder and Montrezl Harrell will also provide a spark on both ends of the floor, but Kuzma needs to be the one to the lead the team in the meantime.

Dead Trade Deadline

The Lakers stood pat through yesterday’s trade deadline. While they were reportedly in the mix for Kyle Lowry, terms ultimately did not come to fruition.

With no trades, they now look ahead to the buyout market. With Andre Drummond officially bought out by the Cavs, his addition to the Lakeshow might make all the difference in the Lakers’ quest to remain a West elite. As they stand now, they simply can’t compete without LeBron or AD in the lineup. Getting blown out by 20 points almost every night is something the team can ill-afford.

The Lakers have already entered a free-fall in the standings, and a further spill may be detrimental to playoff positioning.

What’s Next

The Lakers upcoming two-week slate is an absolute gauntlet. Having to play the likes of the Milwaukee Bucks and Brooklyn Nets will be tough. Then having to play your hated rivals in the Clippers and the Utah Jazz twice is just asking for trouble. These stretch of games for this Lakers’ team is one Rob Pelinka should be having nightmares about.

With the season now entering the home stretch, playoff-seeding implications are on the line. Expecting LeBron and AD to pick up the pieces once they’re back should not be the mindset. If this becomes the case, the team will be in for a rude awakening until LeBron or AD make their long-awaited return.

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About Gabriel Mungaray

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