When the Los Angeles Lakers overhauled their team during the offseason in an attempt to upgrade the roster for a title defense, a core tenet of their identity was supposed to revolve around LeBron James and Anthony Davis having their offensive load eased by the addition of Dennis Schröder.
Those three players were starters for the team on opening night, but they haven’t played a ton together since then. Lineups featuring Davis, James and Schröder have played just 468 minutes total together this season in only 24 games. For context, that ranks just eighth among lineups used by the Lakers this season, and would be outside the top 250 most-used three-man lineups in the NBA this season (only six Lakers lineups would cross that threshold).
In a reason for optimism, the Lakers have been really good when those three play together, going 17-7 in such games and outscoring teams by 12.4 points per 100 possessions when James, Davis and Schröder are on the floor, the second-best mark among Lakers three-man groupings to play more than 350 minutes together this season, and better than the Utah Jazz’s NBA-best +8.4 net rating on the season.
In short, the Lakers are really, really good when they have their three best playmakers on the court.
The bad news? They don’t have a lot of time to get those guys on the floor together to gel again. Injuries to James and Davis combined with time in the health and safety protocols for Schröder have made it so that those three have only played one game all together since Davis got hurt on Feb. 14.
The good news? Those three could at least start the re-acclimation process this weekend when the Lakers take on the Pacers.
Lakers head coach Frank Vogel said that James was a full participant in the team’s 17th (and probably final) practice of the season on Friday ahead of their last two games over the weekend, while Schröder has cleared the health and safety protocols and joined Davis in doing individual work on the side.
James is questionable to play against the Pacers on Saturday as he continues to recover from his high ankle sprain, while Davis (left adductor tightness) is probable and Schröder will be available but is still a game-time decision after missing the last 11 days in the protocols.
“We want to see how (LeBron) feels in response to today’s work like always. But there’s a chance that he plays,” Vogel said. “The more minutes we can get those (three) guys, the better off it’s going to be for us in terms of the readjustment period. So, you know, if we’re able to do that, that’d be great. I don’t know if that’s gonna be a possibility.”
For his part, Davis said he is ready to go. Schröder and James did not speak with the media.
“I feel fine. I feel great. Went through some things during practice, not everything, and then got some work in on the side. Felt great today,” Davis said.
We’ll see if those three can reunite on the court and start re-establishing their dynamic as a trio when the Lakers take on the Pacers on Saturday. Set your alarms and get your coffee makers ready, the NBA has this one scheduled for 10 a.m. PT. You can watch the game locally on Spectrum SportsNet.
Notes and Updates
- A brief note on the Lakers’ current reality in the standings, which could still see them fall anywhere from fifth to seventh:
The same goes for Dallas: If they lose their final two games (tonight vs. Raptors, Sunday @ Wolves) and the Lakers win out they could pass them.
If the Blazers and Mavs both win one more game each or the Lakers lose at all, they’re in the play-in.
— Play-in Game Faigen (@hmfaigen) May 14, 2021
- We will update this story with the full Lakers injury report when it’s released.