The Los Angeles Lakers have been living in mediocrity once again this season. Since winning the NBA Finals in the Orlando bubble, the Lakers have been mired by injuries to a slew of stars and role players alike. This season has been no different.
LeBron James has taken it upon himself to carry the team. Since Anthony Davis hit the sidelines on December 16, James has been averaging 34.6 points per game, 8.3 rebounds per game, 7.6 assists per game, 1.9 three-pointers per game, 0.7 steals per game, and 0.7 blocks per game. To say that he has been super-human would be an understatement. Thankfully for James and the Lakers’ season, Davis returns to the court tonight.
Los Angeles Lakers Injury Update: Will Anthony Davis and Rui Hachimura Play?
Anthony Davis’ All-Star Presence Returns
While James has been a freak since turning 38 years old at the end of December, the Lakers have only mustered a 10-10 record with Davis on the shelf. In his 11th season, Davis is averaging 27.4 points per game, 12.1 rebounds per game, and 2.1 blocks per game, which would make him a worthy All-Star candidate by all metrics.
Although Davis might not make the All-Star team because of his limited games played, he is still a welcome sight for the Lakers. Scheduled to appear in the team’s final home game before a five-game east coast road trip, Davis is returning at a significant time before the All-Star break. With opponents like Boston, Milwaukee, and Golden State on the docket in the next two weeks, Los Angeles needs as many wins as they can scrounge. Davis should help tremendously on that front.
Newly-Acquired Rui Hachimura Provides Shooting
In other Lakers news, Rui Hachimura is also slated to make his first appearance in the purple and gold tonight. Acquired in a recent trade with the Washington Wizards, Hachimura should slide straight into the starting lineup and provide decent scoring, rebounding, and, most importantly, shooting.
Hachimura has been limited in his last season-and-a-half with the Wizards. After logging 30-plus minutes per game in his first two seasons with the Wizards, Hachimura saw under 23 minutes last season and under 25 minutes this season. He is looking for a fresh start on a team that needs exactly what he provides.
While Hachimura is not a knock-down three-point shooter, he is a career 35.6 percent shooter from deep. With the Lakers ranked 26th in three-point percentage (33.8 percent), Hachimura should be a perfect complement to Davis’ lack of deep shooting touch. Hachimura will also play well next to James and Russell Westbrook. With the latter two needing the ball to make plays and create assist opportunities, the former has never averaged more than two assists per game. In other words, Hachimura does not constantly need the ball to be an effective offensive weapon.
The Last Word on the Los Angeles Lakers Injury Report
James has done an admirable job keeping this Lakers team in contention for the play-in. With Davis set to miss substantial time, Los Angeles looked dead in the water. Now, they have a chance to make noise in the second half of the season. With Hachimura coming across via trade and Davis returning from injury, James finally has the help he needs to compete for another title run.