Well, tomorrows Los Angeles Lakers vs Dallas Mavericks game just got a lot more interesting! Anthony Davis is back!
Anthony Davis says the plan is to play tomorrow against the Mavs if he feels good tomorrow.
— Ryan Ward (@RyanWardLA) April 21, 2021
That’s right LakersNation, the All-Star will be back in the lineup against Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks for the first time since February 14th. The Lakers have been understandably cautious with their star after he was dealing with calf and Achilles issues. When you consider the rash of injuries throughout the Association in this condensed season, that approach makes sense.
News of the Lakers Demise was Premature
The Lakers were expected to flounder after Davis went down. They didn’t exactly tear up the Association without Davis, but they didn’t flounder. The team went 7-7 in the first 14 games hi missed, then LeBron James went down. Now, surely, the Lakers would drop in the standings. There was even talk of them having to endure the embarrassment of this seasons play-in tournament.
The Lakers went 7-9 in the 16 games without both their stars. Not great, but not bad, all things considered.
Now, they get to incorporate Davis back into the lineup. On paper, that should be easy enough to do. Davis is a unique talent who was averaging 22.5 points, 8.4 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.8 blocks and 1.3 steals before he went down. The challenge will be in having players who are now used to extended minutes see their time on the court dwindle. Additionally, Davis is going to have to acquaint himself with two new teammates in Ben McLemore and Andre Drummond.
The Drummond Conundrum
It’s Drummond that poses the most interesting challenge. One of the biggest differences between last seasons Lakers team and this seasons squad is the lack of players like Dwight Howard and JaVale McGee. Neither one of those two are current All-Stars, but both brought a toughness to the Lakers from the center position that this seasons players have not been able to match. Drummond is at least built more in that mold than Marc Gasol. So, why is Drummond a challenge?
Where does this leave Montrezl Harrell?
The reigning Sixth Man of the Year led the team in scoring six times while the stars were out. He looked like great and was starting to generate some buzz for the award again this season. Since Drummond signed Harrell has been averaging 8 points and 18 minutes per game.
Now with Davis back, well…
At the end of the day, these are good problems for any coach to have. Considering that Frank Vogel led his team all the way to the NBA Championship last season it seems right to give him the benefit of the doubt. But, integrating Davis back into this team will take sometime. Davis will be on a 15 minute restriction.
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