- The Lakers were handed a massive blow on Monday with the announcement that Anthony Davis will miss ample time with a calf strain
- Despite the news, LA remains the favorite on the NBA Pacific Division odds
- Is Frank Vogel’s team still a safe bet to beat out the Clippers in the Pacific Division? Get our odds, analysis, and current pick below
The defending champion Los Angeles Lakers have been rolling on this season as they look to win another title, but they will be shorthanded for the time being. Anthony Davis had missed time in early February with tendonosis in his Achilles, finally returning to the lineup against Memphis last Friday.
However, AD not only re-aggravated the initial injury in a loss to the Nuggets on Sunday, but he also strained his calf, which is set to keep him out of Frank Vogel’s lineup for 2-3 weeks at the very least. On a more positive note though, there was no rupture of the Achilles tendon found in the MRI, which is certainly good news for AD and the Lakers.
Anthony Davis' MRI revealed a calf strain and a re-aggravation of the right Achilles tendonosis, source said. Once Davis returns to Los Angeles, he'll immediately get another evaluation there. It is extremely unlikely Davis returns to lineup prior to ASG break ending March 10.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) February 15, 2021
LA will re-evaluate his situation around the All-Star break, with a return unlikely before ASG weekend. Despite Davis’ absence in the Lakers rotation moving forward, their Pacific Division odds haven’t actually changed.
NBA Pacific Division Odds
|Golden State Warriors||+16000|
Odds taken Feb 15 at Fanduel
Can LeBron Keep Lakers Afloat?
LeBron James will face the daunting task of keeping the Lakers intact. But if there’s one player in the NBA who is capable, it would be the King. He will need help though. Davis has a usage rate of 27.8 percent, which is second-highest on the team to LeBron’s 31.4. After that, it’s Dennis Schroder at 21 percent. Expect the German to take on more of a prominent role in the rotation as he’s already LA’s third-best scorer.
Luckily, the Lakers’ schedule into March isn’t too difficult either. Their toughest opponents will be Brooklyn, Utah, the Blazers, and Phoenix. Nestled in between those contests are games against the Wizards, Heat, Kings, and Timberwolves.
Kyle Kuzma filled in for AD after his departure on Sunday, contributing 19 points in 26 minutes. He will likely start in place of Davis and does have the ability to contribute offensively.
It all comes back to LeBron though. Obviously, the long-term health of Davis is the primary focus, but James has a chance to not only solidify himself in the MVP conversation but also keep LA afloat over the next few weeks.
There is more than enough talent in this squad to get by without the Brow for the time being. Talen Horton-Tucker has shown massive potential this season, while other second unit guys like Montrezl Harrell and Alex Caruso are more than capable of stepping up.
Clippers Have Their Own Problems
Paul George has missed five straight games with a toe injury and will sit out on Monday once again. As for Kawhi Leonard, he was absent in LA’s win over the Cavs on Sunday and will also be on the bench against the Heat.
During PG’s absence, the Clippers went just 3-2. He’s simply just day-to-day at this point, while Kawhi’s injury doesn’t seem too serious. But as you can see, Ty Lue’s squad is dealing with their own problems as well.
Clippers announce Paul George, Kawhi Leonard, and Pat Bev are all out tonight.
— Sabreena Merchant (@sabreenajm) February 15, 2021
They also have a tough schedule leading up to the All-Star break, playing the Nets, Bucks, Celtics, and the red-hot Jazz on two occasions. The Clips’ second unit isn’t the strongest either if Leonard and George do miss more time than expected.
I firmly believe LeBron is going to rise to the occasion and keep the Lakers atop the Pacific Division. Whether the Clippers have Kawhi Leonard and Paul George back in the lineup soon or not, Vogel’s squad will be a competitive team without Anthony Davis.
James is having a tremendous season and this will just be more incentive for him to show out even more. LA has a well-rounded roster that can definitely complement the King on both ends of the court. Sure, they’ll miss Davis’ length and presence in the paint. But, the Lakers will be just fine for the time being.
A 4-1 record without AD this season is also a promising sign. However, he will ultimately need to be 100 percent healthy if Los Angeles is going to make another run at the Larry O’Brien Trophy.