The Lakers have had a rough season this year with a disappointing record of 31-41, with ten more games to play. The one thing that the Lakers could bank on this year is LeBron James’ form. After his 38-points against the Cavaliers on Monday, his average points per game have gone up to 30. However, NBA experts have slight concerns about LeBron James’ sore knee becoming a bigger problem in the ply-ins due to lack of rest.
Moreover, James has averaged 8.2 rebounds and 6.6 assists in his 54 games in the 2021-22 season. He was passed Joel Embiid with 29.8 points per game to become number one on the Points Per Game Leaders 2022 list. LeBron has really stepped up his game after Anthony Davis was ruled out due to a foot strain in mid-February. Since then, James has spent 37.9 minutes and scored an average of 32.3 points in his last 12 games before Monday’s game. There are no second thoughts about James being able to handle the extra workload at the attacking end. However, there is a slight concern that his aching knee could become a concern in the play-in tournament later in April.
Should The Lakers Rest James From An Unbelievable Scoring Streak?
Bill Simmons from The Ringer suggested last week that resting James occasionally could be a smart move for the Lakers. Simmons said that resting him during back-to-back games or spotting him a little could not be a bad idea before the start of the play-ins. However, Bill was not sure if LeBron would want to rest.
LeBron has chosen not to rest even with a sore left knee. The 37-year old has played for almost 81 minutes total between two back-to-back road games over the weekend. Recently, LeBron James crossed Karl Malone to become the second-highest scorer in NBA history. Simmons feels that another achievement could be the driving force of James’ consistent appearance on the court. James might be looking to win another scoring title at his age and achieve an amazing feat.
How Resting James Affects The Lakers?
Though resting seems like an ideal option for the idea, it seems to be a disastrous one for the Lakers. LeBron is doing the bulk of the scoring each game with little support from the others. This has been one of the major reasons behind a series of recent losses and inconsistent wins. Hence, with ten games left in the bank. the Lakers would try to secure the eighth position before the start of the play-in tournament from April 12 to 15. The Lakers are at the ninth position currently and trail the Clippers by 5 wins who are currently settled at eighth position with 36 wins. The Lakers will also have to watch out for the Spurs who are just behind by two and a half wins.
With so much to play during the last few games at the Western Conference, resting LeBron James could be a risky move. Moreover, Anthony Davis’ return status is still unknown. With Westbrook having an inconsistent season, it is impossible to see who could lead the youngsters in his absence. The Lakers will face Embiid and the Philly 76ers at home on Wednesday.