With Anthony Davis likely out until at least the All-Star break, there will be pressure on the rest of the Los Angeles Lakers oster to step up as best they can to make up for his loss.
Thankfully for head coach Frank Vogel, the front office made major additions during the offseason bringing in Dennis Schroder, Montrezl Harrell, Marc Gasol and Wesley Matthews.
In the Lakers’ first contest since Davis was diagnosed with a calf strain and re-aggravation of his Achilles injury, all four newcomers stepped up in the 112-104 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves. Of course, LeBron James led the way, but it took a true team effort, and the Lakers role players were up to the task.
“We wanted to have a deep team this year because we weren’t sure about what kind of COVID losses we would have from time to time,” Vogel said. “Obviously the short offseason, we knew was going to be a concern with potential injury.
“I like what we have to go to war with in this stretch we’re going to be without Anthony Davis. We’ve got to have a deep team and I’ve got a lot of guys on this roster I believe in. We’re going to have the mindset of we’ve got to continue to win every night we take the floor.”
Schroder set the tone early against the Timberwolves with his aggressiveness. He finished with 24 points and four steals on the night, getting to the rim almost at will. Harrell provided a big energy boost off the bench with 17 points, six rebounds and three assists while knocking down all seven of his free throw attempts.
Gasol has been the subject of criticism throughout the season, but had his best game of the so far with 11 points, five rebounds and two blocks. Gasol also played a large role in limiting Karl-Anthony Towns to just 15 points and only one field goal in the second half.
Though Matthews only hit one 3-pointer, his defense and overall energy helped to spark the Lakers as well.
The entire reasoning for the Lakers making their moves in the offseason was for times like these. With Davis sidelined for at least the next few weeks, the team should still have the talent to keep things afloat, and Vogel absolutely believes that to be the case.
Rich Paul expects Davis to miss games beyond re-evaluation period
Though Davis will be out for some time, the Lakers are undoubtedly happy that the news wasn’t much worse. The initial time frame given for Davis’ return was 2-3 weeks at which point he will be re-evaluated, but right now it seems highly unlikely that he will be back in that time period.
Agent Rich Paul basically confirmed that Davis is expecting to miss games beyond that re-evaluation period. Additionally, Vogel has called it unlikely that Davis will return prior to the upcoming All-Star break.
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