Los Angeles Lakers stars LeBron James and Anthony Davis are already starting to experience health setbacks. James, who has been battling an illness this week, was unsure about playing Wednesday against the New Orleans Pelicans.
Davis, who has been up and down with his back injury, is doing his best to manage his injury.
The news of the two Lakers superstars already being listed on the team’s injury report is not a good sign. However, both have battled through their afflictions and helped lead L.A to their first two wins of the season this week before falling short in an unfortunate loss to the Utah Jazz on Friday.
Darvin Ham was asked if his substitution method changes with James and Davis being hobbled and he talked about trying to balance everything.
“Oh, totally, totally does”, Ham admitted. “If they’re ailing a little bit, we want to get them out of there. Quick bursts, get them back on the sideline, rest, and try to have it on the incline whereas the game is getting longer, they’re getting more comfortable. So now you try to save minutes so long for them to be able to play down the stretch at the end of the game.
“Obviously, them having physical issues, you have to manage that… And also you don’t want them sitting over there too long. Trying to rework them back into the game. So it’s a delicate balance. I think we have guys that can come in and cover as best they can during those minutes when they’re not in the game. Try to sustain us and keep us competing.”
The relationship James and Davis already have with their first-year head coach is key to having a successful Lakers season. Ham has recently praised Davis for his growth as a leader on the court and how he manages his injuries.
Time will only tell when James can shake off his illness and return to being the player the Lakers faithful all know and love.
It is no secret that without a healthy James and Davis, the Lakers will struggle to fulfill their playoff aspirations. Managing their minutes early on the season is a good and mature choice by Ham in order to save their bodies for the high-demanding postseason.
Ham wants Westbrook in Sixth Man of the Year discussion
The decision for Ham to have Russell Westbrook lead the charge for the Lakers off the bench has proven to work. Although four games might be a small sample size to determine his long-term value, the Lakers may have found a winning formula and Westbrook himself is thriving in his new role.
With a turn of the page both on the court and statistically, Westbrook has caught the attention of Ham as the head coach is advocating for him to be in the Sixth Man Of The Year conversation. If the former 2017 regular-season MVP winner can keep it up, there may be a shot for Westbrook to win that award.
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