The decline of the Lakers has been hard to watch. They went on a four-game losing streak and dropped to the third seed. Why has the decline of the Lakers happened? They are without Anthony Davis.
Davis was averaging 22.5 points and 8.4 rebounds per game. He is crucial to everything the Lakers do without a doubt and his presence has been missed.
The 2019-2020 NBA champions have played six games since Davis’ calf strain and only won one, their last game against the Portland Trail Blazers.
Not enough can be said about his defense, he is one of the best defenders in the league. Now that the Lakers don’t have the great shot-blocking centers who can protect the paint like last year, he has been even more key.
What hasn’t been talked about enough is how much they will miss him on offense.
Lakers Games since Anthony Davis Injury
- Los Angeles Lakers vs Minnesota Timberwolves W 112-104
- Los Angeles Lakers vs Brooklyn Nets L 109-98
- Los Angeles Lakers vs Miami Heat L 96-94
- Los Angeles Lakers vs Washington Wizards L 127-124
- Los Angeles Lakers vs Utah Jazz L 89-114
- Los Angeles Lakers vs Portland Trail Blazers W 93-102
The decline of the Lakers has a lot to do with the burden that has been placed on LeBron James.
Without Davis, James has to do more so the Lakers can keep up with other teams. Although Davis has not been having a great season offensively, only averaging 22.5 points compared to last season’s 26.1. It doesn’t change the fact that he still plays a big role in it.
He was averaging 16.7 shots a game before his injury. It is hard to replace a superstar shooting 16.7 shots per game whilst shooting 53.3% from the field.
Feeding Davis in the post and letting him work is crucial for the Lakers’ scoring. Davis’ midrange game makes him practically unstoppable on his day.
No wonder the decline of the Lakers happened.
Why The Decline of the Lakers May Be Over
The decline of the Lakers may be over. Davis will not be back for another three weeks at least, but the Lakers saw the return of a very valuable player against the Portland Trail Blazers. Dennis Schroder.
Schroder is the Lakers’ third most valuable player. He is crucial to the Lakers’ offense, he makes them play at a pace that is more threatening to other teams than the slower pace when James is the point guard. He will be vital in stopping the decline of the Lakers.
With Davis out, we can expect Schroder to elevate his game and give even more on offense. Losing him before the Brooklyn Nets game was a huge blow to the Lakers, if he was there the result of the game could have been different.
He brings intensity on both sides of the court consistently and sets the tone for the Lakers team on both sides of the court.
He will also be featured in rotations that don’t include James, which will help solve how bad the Lakers are without James in court. A problem that is even more prominent now that Davis is out.
He was last year’s runner-up in the Sixth man of the year award and has proven this year he is equally as effective in the starting lineup.
Schroder returned against the Blazers with 22 points and his impact was felt.
It could be argued that his performance isn’t a sign of better things to come as the Blazers team is significantly weaker. This is because of injuries, they are missing Cj McCollum, Jusuf Nurkix, and Zach Collins.
But it doesn’t take away from how good the Lakers looked.
“His energy alone gives us a spark, his competitive nature gives us a spark,” James said after the Lakers win. “Just to have him back in our lineup and have him back in our locker room just means so much to our team.”
Therefore, it’s been forgotten that on his day Davis is an elite scorer and the Lakers will miss the offensive side of his game nearly as much as his defense.
Schroder is going to be the key to the Lakers continuing to perform at a high level whilst Davis is out. Without him in the lineup, the Lakers’ offense hasn’t looked good, but his intensity will be the difference-maker.
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