The Los Angeles Lakers finally got the news they have been waiting patiently to hear as LeBron James made his return against the Sacramento Kings on Friday night.
James had missed the last 20 games after spraining his right ankle on March 20, but his return gave the Lakers a fully healthy roster for the first time in over two months. With Anthony Davis also back in the lineup, Los Angeles can now begin its ramp up toward the playoffs.
Despite getting James back, head coach Frank Vogel admitted before the game that he wishes his star had more time to get himself ready.
“My comfort level is it is not enough (laughs),” Vogel said. “Not in any way, shape or form. It’s just the nature of what we’re in. We have to make the best of it and compete through it and playoff time we’ll be ready.”
With nine games left, Vogel is focused on getting the Lakers used to playing with each other. “We just got to work on the chemistry of what our group looks like right now,” Vogel said. “With AD, Bron and Drumm out there. Dennis [Schroder] shifting roles. KCP, Kuz, Kieff shifting roles. It’s not just those guys returning, it’s all the other guys they’re returning to lesser roles when those guys were out.
“It’s just going to be a massive adjustment period for our group that we got to compete through and have some imperfect nights like some we had on this past trip. Hopefully we can win games through this adjustment period.”
James is the arguably the smartest player in the NBA and it should not take him too long to get re-acclimated with his team. However, Vogel is right in that the bulk of the adjustments will be with the rest of the roster as guys now have to accept smaller roles and fewer minutes.
It is a little concerning that James and the Lakers do not have much time to iron out any issues, but they have earned the benefit of the doubt and should be able to get going when the postseason arrives.
Lakers boast advantage in front court
With James officially back, the Purple and Gold can claim they have the most talented and physically dominant front court in the league. Davis and Andre Drummond are more athletic and mobile than most bigs, while James still possess otherworldly athleticism even at 36 years old.
The Lakers ran through the 2020 NBA playoffs thanks to their collective size and that should be the case again this year.
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