The Los Angeles Lakers are currently without superstar big man Anthony Davis due to an injury in his foot, and as a result, the team has had to rely on superstar LeBron James even more.
According to head coach Darvin Ham, the plan is to keep leaning on the veteran.
“I just want to ride him,” Ham said. “And he allows you to do that because he takes such great care of himself. So, it’s a great luxury to have.”
Davis has missed the last nine Lakers games with his injury, and he reportedly won’t be ready to return to the floor until at least the middle of January. If the Lakers want to have any shot at weathering that storm, James is going to have to keep playing MVP-level basketball.
He’s been doing just that. Since Davis’ injury, he’s averaged 35.1 points, 7.4 assists and 7.3 rebounds per game. In his last two games, he’s averaged almost 40 minutes per contest.
While it’s been incredible to watch James, who’s now 38 years of age, dominate in recent games, Ham does have to be very careful when it comes to how much he plays the superstar. Lakers fans are all too familiar with the risks that come with potentially overplaying James.
Though he is still an incredibly dominant player, he is aging just like everyone else. That means his body doesn’t recover quite as quickly as it did 10 or more years ago. While James takes incredibly good care of his body, putting more stress on it with increased playing time only increases the risk of injury.
Obviously, the worst-case scenario for the Lakers would be to lose James on top of already being without Davis.
The good news is that the Lakers have a relatively slow schedule for the rest of the first half of January. With one game already in the books this month, the Lakers have just six games between now and Jan. 15. Four of those games will be at home in L.A., and two will come on the road.
As Lakers fans know, the 2022-23 season has not gone well for the team. Still, with a little over half of the games left to play, the Lakers find themselves just four games back of the No. 6 seed in the Western Conference.
There’s more than enough time to make up that ground, though James is going to have to keep playing at an incredibly high level if the Lakers want any hope of closing that gap.