LeBron James’s Huge Impact on the Los Angeles Lakers’ Play and Why That’s a Serious Problem

Even though he is almost 39 years old, LeBron James is still playing in incredible form. After 7 games in the NBA, he averaged 25.3 points, 8.4 rebounds, 5.9 assists, 1.6 steals and 1.1 blocks. However, there is an even more surprising number, which is that LeBron James is playing an average of 35.9 minutes/match, ranking in the top 10 in terms of minutes played since the beginning of the season.


Previously, Los Angeles Lakers head coach Darvin Ham announced that he would only limit LeBron James to an average of 28-30 minutes per match to preserve his physical strength. However, the Lakers’ poor performance when LeBron James was not on the court forced Darvin Ham to bet on the superstar’s health.

The Los Angeles Lakers played poorly when LeBron James was not on the court

Looking back, it’s normal for a team to play worse without its star player. However, no one has had the level of disparity like the way the Los Angeles Lakers play when LeBron James is on and off the court.

According to NBA statistics, the Lakers are leading their opponents by an average of 11.6 points per 100 possessions when LeBron James is on the court. Once the 39-year-old superstar was out, they allowed opponents to lead by an average of 37 points per 100 defensive possessions. The gap of up to 48.6 points per game is the worst number for an NBA team without its star player.

When Anthony Davis is alongside LeBron James, the Los Angeles Lakers become even more dangerous. According to statistics, when this duo takes the field, the Lakers are leading their opponents with an average of 41 points per 100 possessions.

The biggest problem for the Lakers is that LeBron James is 39 years old and Anthony Davis is often injured. Neither has been able to play more than 56 games in a season over the past four years with the Los Angeles Lakers. In other positions, D’Angelo Russell is still having problems making decisions on the offensive stage. Austin Reaves and Gabe Vincent are in decline compared to last season.

Taurean Prince and Christian Wood still played well but that was not enough when they were missing LeBron James on the field. Injuries to Jarred Vanderbilt and Rui Hachimura made the Lakers’ problems worse.


Jarred Vanderbilt and Rui Hachimura are absent due to injury

As mentioned above, the Los Angeles Lakers are missing two important players from last season, Rui Hachimura and Jarred Vanderbilt, due to injury. Hachimura has only played 3 matches, while Vanderbilt has not even been able to play this season.

Both are players with unique skill sets that can help lighten LeBron James’ load and help the Los Angeles Lakers in many situations. Rui Hachimura is quite dangerous with his 3-point shots from corners as well as his ability to play stably independently. Jarred Vanderbilt is an aggressive player who can guard all five positions on the field.

The return of these two players in the near future will be a huge spiritual boost for the Los Angeles Lakers. However, before the duo returns, head coach Darvin Ham will have to find other ways to lighten the load on LeBron James, if he doesn’t want the 39-year-old superstar to be exhausted for the remainder of the 2023/24 season.


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