The Los Angeles Lakers finally got one of their two star players back on Thursday night in the form of Anthony Davis. Frank Vogel placed him on a minutes restriction while he gets his legs back under him, but he’ll have 14 games in total before the playoffs to get a rhythm going.
The same cannot be said for the other star — LeBron James — who remains sidelined with a high ankle sprain. The Lakers have not yet given an indication as to when he’ll return, but the regular season is entering the final stages with L.A. only having a few weeks left in their schedule.
Because of this, Vogel is unsure if James and Davis will have enough time to get their conditioning back or mesh with guys like Andre Drummond before the postseason begins. “I don’t think it is an ideal situation by any stretch from the standpoint of those guys returning from injury and having enough time to get their conditioning and rhythm and timing where it needs to be.
“Nor is it enough time to integrate a main piece like Andre Drummond with those guys, but it’s just going to be an imperfect season. This is the hand that we’re dealt and we have to make the best of it.”
The theme of the 2020-21 season has been adapting to less than ideal circumstances, and the Lakers have been at the forefront of that. On April 11, it was rumored that James was about three weeks away from returning, although that was never confirmed by the Lakers.
Three weeks from April 11 is May 2, or next Sunday, when the Lakers take on the Toronto Raptors. If James can return for that game — and there’s no indication that this is the current plan — then he would have nine games with the team before the playoffs.
The Lakers will have to do what they can with Davis and the team’s role players until James gets back. So far, they are 7-10 since James went down against the Atlanta Hawks.
Caldwell-Pope hoping to stay aggressive once everyone is healthy
Lakers guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope has been incredible in recent weeks after a huge mid-season slump. He spoke about getting Davis, and eventually James, back in the lineup and what he’ll need to do then to continue his hot shooting.
“The floor is gonna open up big time when those guys come back. We’ve already seen what we were supposed to with AD tonight, they were doubling, so that swing is gonna be there. So just me staying aggressive with those guys do come back, just continue to put the pressure on the opponents.”
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