Anthony Davis’ injury is a massive blow to the Los Angeles Lakers. He was forced off the court just before halftime in the Lakers’ loss to the Denver Nuggets.
The Lakers will have to do without their seven-time All-Star for at least 2-3 weeks. Davis had an MRI scan that revealed a calf strain and a re-aggravation of the right Achilles tendinosis.
How Anthony Davis’ Injury Hurts the Lakers
The importance of Anthony Davis to this Lakers team is obvious. After signing his 5-year contract, it was made official that Davis would be a star in LA for the long term.
However, he hasn’t had the season many expected after an impressive playoff run. Davis was averaging 22.5 points and 8.4 rebounds. Last year he averaged 26.1 and 9.3 rebounds. He also shot 33% from beyond the arc, he is now shooting 29.3% with one less attempt a game (2.5).
Despite him struggling with certain games offensively, there is one thing he was pretty consistent with. Defense.
Davis is a great rim protector averaging 2.4 blocks per game for his entire career. With the Lakers losing JaVale McGee and Dwight Howard they lost a significant part of their great rim protection.
Marc Gasol and Montrezl Harrell aren’t great shot blockers, now that Davis is out the Lakers don’t really have any great rim protectors.
Before, you could criticize the Lakers becoming worse in protecting the paint, but they still lead the league, along with the Indiana Pacers, in blocks per game at 6.1. Because of Anthony Davis’ injury, their defense will be significantly worst.
Lakers are also ranked second behind the New York Knicks in points allowed per game, only allowing 105.8 points per game. Davis helps set the tone for the team on defense.
Lakers started playing great defense after Davis spoke out on how bad their defense was in their loss to the San Antonio Spurs. He is a vital leader to the team in general but especially on defense.
Anthony Davis’ injury needs to be dealt with carefully so he can be fully healthy for the playoffs. Davis has a history of injuries and the Lakers shouldn’t be in any rush to bring him back into the fold.
The Lakers are currently second in the West with 21 wins and 7 losses, the second-best record in the league after the Utah Jazz. It is important for their postseason that they get a high seed even though most people see them as the best team in the NBA.
Who will the Lakers rely on to keep them high up in the West after Anthony Davis’ injury? Of course, LeBron James.
James is having an MVP caliber season right now. He is averaging 25.5 points, 8 rebounds, and 8 assists. James is arguably having a better season than last year. He started the season shooting the ball incredibly well.
After a rough shooting patch so far this month, his average has gone down to 38.1% but that is still the best he’s ever shot in his career. With Anthony Davis’ injury, the Lakers are going to need James to continue playing at this level and play more.
James was averaging the lowest minutes of his career until recently. The Lakers played three overtime games in a role and now his minutes average is at 34.6. The same as last year.
With Anthony Davis’ injury, it is likely James will have to continue playing high minutes as they will depend on a lot more. It could also be expected that his points per game will go up now that he no longer has a big he feeds in the post.
With the NBA not giving players a rest and choosing to have an All-Star game and the Lakers having a short off-season, it may be worrying how much James is playing with a lack of rest.
Who Else Will Step up After Anthony Davis’ Injury?
The person who will replace Davis in the line-up will be Kyle Kuzma. Kuzma is having a great season for the Lakers. He is averaging 11 points and 6.1 rebounds a game.
Kuzma brings a lot of hard work off the bench. He works hard getting rebounds for the Lakers and has improved massively on his defense.
He is also capable of being a good catch and shoot. He is shooting 35.9% from beyond the arc this season. Kuzma coming into the starting line-up weakens the Laker bench, but it is a chance for him to step up and continue to show his worth to the team.
It is going to be difficult for the Lakers to stay in the top three of the West without Anthony Davis. However, with LeBron James playing how he is playing we shouldn’t put it past them.
The most important thing is they are careful with Anthony Davis’ injury and he comes back at his best.