The Lakers’ short-term future in a competitive Western Conference is murkier than ever following Thursday’s loss to the Brooklyn Nets.
The uncertainty came not from the game, but after it, when Los Angeles coach Frank Vogel disclosed that All-NBA big man Anthony Davis’ would miss at least another four weeks after his aggravated right Achilles’ tendon had been re-evaluated by team doctors.
“He’s going to be out for four weeks,” Vogel said. “We want to try to put this fully behind him, be conservative with it just to make sure it’s fully healed before he’s back.
Davis exited the Lakers’ game at Denver on Sunday after the nagging injury took a turn for the worse. An MRI revealed no structural damage, but the defending NBA champions are taking no chances with the superstar for whom they traded all their available draft capital to acquire in 2019.
Thursday’s loss was L.A.’s second in a three-game span. Both defeats saw the Lakers fall well short of their 112.4 points-per-game average while giving up a torrid 43% from 3-point range, far above the 35.2% clip they normally yield.
Davis has not played up to his usual superb standard this season, averaging his lowest scoring and rebounding numbers (22.5 ppg, 8.4 rpg) since his first two seasons in the league. Even so, his absence is felt strongly by the Lakers, whose net rating dips from plus-9.1 when he plays to plus-4.4 when he sits.
With guard Dennis Schroder also indefinitely unavailable while completing the league’s Health and Safety Protocols, the Lakers could be severely undermanned through the rest of the first-half season schedule, with Davis likely missing games beyond the All-Star break.
The Lakers currently hold a 22-8 record, still second-best in the Western Conference and the league overall.