When LeBron James tumbled to the floor injuring his ankle in the loss to the Atlanta Hawks on March 20, Dennis Schroder suddenly found himself in charge of the Los Angeles Lakers’ offense.
The guard has been playing 31.8 minutes per game, the highest of his career, this season. Yet during James’ absence, Schroder has spent even more time on the floor clocking in 33.0 minutes a night, coming second only behind Kyle Kuzma’s 34.5. He’s also been leading the team in scoring, chipping in 17.0 points on average, and assists, dishing out 7.4 dimes.
By stepping up in recent weeks, Schroder proved to Lakers head coach Frank Vogel he can rely on him carrying the weight of the leader’s mantle. “He’s a competitor and he wants to do everything he can to win games and he’s in the prime of his career so you can really kind of lean on him for heavy minutes and a heavy load within those minutes with what he does on the defensive end as well as carrying a heavy load offensively,” Vogel said.
“So proud of him to be able to compete through this and carry a big load for us.”
Despite the many roster changes, the Lakers returned from their latest road trip with a 4-3 record. Although his points average dipped slightly during the stretch, Schroder shined on the perimeter shooting 44.4% from behind the 3-point line.
Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma said recently the team had yet to adjust to life without their two superstars. But he warned that once they are back, L.A. will be difficult to stop.
James and Davis could both return this month
Each game the Lakers leave everything on the floor to weather the storm caused by James and Davis’ injuries. But the two All-Stars should soon join their teammates on the floor.
Based on recent reports, the 28-year-old forward could come back in about a week. Meanwhile, James might be able to return by the end of April.
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