The Los Angeles Lakers have been embroiled in one of the most entertaining first-round series during the 2021 NBA playoffs against the Phoenix Suns.
Injuries have dampened some of the intrigue as Chris Paul has been hampered with a right shoulder injury while Anthony Davis was held out of Game 5 due to a groin strain. The Lakers’ title defense could very well come down to their health and so far it is not looking bright for the defending champions.
While Los Angeles has the rest of their rotation available for the playoffs, Kostas Antetokounmpo has reportedly been back home in his native Greece attending to a personal matter per Dave McMenamin and Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:
Los Angeles Lakers forward Kostas Antetokounmpo, the younger brother of NBA superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo, has been away from the team attending to a personal matter in Greece, sources told ESPN.
Antetokounmpo has not been with the team for the duration of L.A.’s playoff run while in his home country of Greece, sources said. There’s no immediate timetable for his return, but there’s optimism that he could rejoin the team this postseason should the Lakers advance past the Phoenix Suns in their first-round Western Conference playoff series.
Antetokounmpo’s absence has gone under the radar considering the team is in the midst of their first-round series, but also because his brothers Giannis and Thanasis Antetokounmpo are still present with the Milwaukee Bucks. The youngest Antetokounmpo brother has been listed as “Inactive” for the Lakers’ first four postseason games.
From a basketball standpoint, this does not affect Los Angeles much as Antetokounmpo has only seen the floor in garbage time so he is not expected to have a role even if they advance past the Suns. However, having him back on the bench would be reassuring in the event that injuries continue to plague the roster and he is forced into spot duty.
Lakers title hopes in jeopardy
With Davis dealing with a groin strain, it is going to be a tall task for LeBron James to get the Lakers out of the first round. Paul has started to regain his normal form while Phoenix has a whole has proven why they were the No. 2 seed during the regular season.
Even if Los Angeles does advance, the overall health of the roster may very well make or break their ability to repeat.
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