It has undoubtedly been a difficult season for Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James thus far. While his stats are solid as always, he’s played in just 12 of the team’s 24 games and has had some difficulties shooting the ball after a strong start.
His most recent string of bad luck came in the form of a false positive coronavirus (COVID-19) test that knocked him out of one game. He was eventually cleared to return, but it was another momentum-stopper for James and the Lakers, and he expressed his frustrations with the whole process.
Anthony Davis — his longest-tenured Lakers teammate — and head coach Frank Vogel have taken note of what he’s had to go through this season. Vogel focused mostly on the false COVID result when discussing his misfortune.
“It’s tough. He’s had a tough few days, there’s no other way to put it,” Vogel said. “You fly up to Sacramento to get ready to compete and build some momentum with our team and you’re told you can’t play and you have to fly back without the team.”
“You’re not allowed to be with the team the next day, and then all of a sudden you’re cleared and get back into it. So I commend him for playing a really good basketball game. He didn’t shoot it that well, his numbers aren’t great percentage-wise, but I thought he was great competing with all that he’s been through the last couple of days.”
Davis, meanwhile, took a zoomed-out approach on James’ whole season. “It’s frustrating for him, especially this last time. It’s tough to get in a rhythm. He was playing well in the previous three and he had to sit out in Sacramento. I haven’t talked to him about it personally, but I’m pretty sure from a player standpoint, it’s frustrating.
“Especially early on when you want to find your rhythm the most, but he’s a great talent. He can miss a couple games and come back like he had been on the floor all year. Its tough for us when anyone is in and out of the lineup trying to find rotations, getting in a rhythm with each other and finding cohesiveness. I’m pretty sure it’s frustrating for him not being able to be out on the floor with this team and not help the guys and help us win.”
Now, James is back from his short stint in the health and safety protocols and appears to be the healthiest he’s been all season. Hopefully, he can now begin a string of games where he is fully available to his team. He has yet to play four consecutive games without missing at least one.
If the Lakers can get James back on a regular basis, perhaps they can start to find some rhythm as a team and put together a winning streak. They need it as they continue to hover .500 nearly 30% into the season.
Vogel: James being back in the lineup won’t fix all issues
Even though James has been known to cover up a number of issues on his teams, Vogel made it clear that the Lakers can’t assume he’ll do that for them.
“Not all of them,” Vogel said of fixing L.A.’s issues. “There’s still things that we need to do better and we’re working on those. But certainly that will help a lot.”
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