A third of the 2020-21 season is officially in the books, and all things considered the Los Angeles Lakers have to feel good about where they sit.
They are currently second in the Western Conference standings despite integrating several new players with a lack of practice time. LeBron James is largely responsible for their success so far, playing at an MVP level and carrying the team when they need him the most.
However, Anthony Davis has not played up to his lofty standards as he looks to work himself back into shape following their championship run in the bubble. Davis has battled nagging injuries throughout the season, and has missed the past two games with right Achilles tendinosis.
While the Lakers are not overly concerned with Davis’ injury, head coach Frank Vogel reiterated the team is erring on the side of caution.
“He was hopeful to play,” Vogel said before Wednesday’s game against the Oklahoma City Thunder. “He warmed it up this morning and still has some discomfort there, so again, we’re being cautious with it.
“It’s not a long-term concern, but with still him having discomfort, we’re going to hold him out again.”
For a veteran-laden team like Los Angeles, making sure the players are healthy for the postseason is of the utmost priority and it is not surprising they are holding Davis out. Playing through injuries is fine come the postseason, but during this stretch of the year the Lakers can afford to sit Davis and lean on their roster depth.
Of course, it is interesting to see that James has not been held out yet despite being a constant on the injury report with a sprained left ankle. The 36-year-old has looked fine each game, while Davis appeared to be laboring a bit against the Detroit Pistons.
While it may lead to some losses throughout the season, holding out their stars is the correct move for L.A.
Markieff Morris, Kyle Kuzma step up in Davis absence
With Davis out, Vogel opted to start Markieff Morris and Kyle Kuzma in their two games against the Thunder. Starting Morris allowed Vogel to get the veteran some playing time, but later turned to Kuzma to give them some more speed.
Both are viable starters and afford Vogel the luxury of holding out Davis for as long as he needs to.
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