The Los Angeles Lakers are 28-29 on the season and are currently three games out of the 8th seed in the Western Conference. Heading into the second half of 2018-19, Los Angeles is in desperate need of superstar LeBron James willing the team into the playoffs.
But, that hasn’t happened since James returned from a groin injury on Jan. 31 against the Clippers. The Lakers are 2-4 since with James averaging 23.2 points, 10.8 rebounds, and 11.0 assists per game and playing over 35 minutes in three of those games. Though James competed in the 2019 NBA All-Star Game, Los Angeles thinks James still isn’t 100 percent healthy.
The Lakers are privately a little concerned about LeBron. Is he fully healed from the groin strain that cost him a career-worst 18 games? Is he going to pick up his intensity and propel this team back into the playoffs, as he did last year in Cleveland? James, 34, is actually averaging a triple-double for the Lakers since his return from injury (23.2 points, 10.8 rebounds, 11.0 assists), but he’s just not moving at the same speed nor is he engaging at the point of attack.
At 34-years-old and with James carrying such a heavy load, there’s worry that he will aggravate his groin and miss more time.
James had never missed 18 games with a single injury in his career. He’s played 74 or more games out of 82 in 11 of his 13 complete NBA seasons. Los Angeles knows that and knows James will do anything to play, but if the Lakers play their cards wrong and miss the playoffs, there may be a disaster in L.A.