Los Angeles Lakers: A fresh LeBron James could be the key to a repeat

Los Angeles Lakers LeBron James (Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images)
Los Angeles Lakers LeBron James (Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images) /

Expect a motivated and fresh LeBron James in the playoffs as the Los Angeles Lakers attempt to repeat as NBA champions. 

I can’t help but think about what might be going through LeBron James‘ mind as he continues to miss time for the Los Angeles Lakers due to an ankle injury.

The Utah Jazz and Phoenix Suns are pulling away from the rest of the competition in the Western Conference, the Brooklyn Nets continue to steal headlines thanks to their flashy stars, the Milwaukee Bucks are the steady dark horse contender in the Eastern Conference, and the Philadelphia 76ers are the upstart contender with Doc Rivers at the helm.

All that is taking place while the defending champions are falling down the standings in the West, thanks in large part to injuries to LeBron and Anthony Davis.

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Even though it appears that Davis’ injury could come sooner rather than later, the Lakers won’t have much time to get back in playing rhythm ahead of the postseason. There’s no public timeline on a return for LeBron as of now. He suffered a high ankle sprain on March 20.

However, it’s far known that the key for the Lakers entering the playoff is health. In fact, you can almost bet that they’d take healthy in addition to rust rather than entering the playoffs gimpy or nursing some uncertainty on the injury front.

That’s where the Lakers need to balance over the last 20 games of the regular season.

Davis will almost certainly be back before LeBron and they’ll be able to ease him back into action, too. Though, how do they handle LeBron’s return?

Ideally, LeBron would be ready to return a week or two before the end of the regular season and is eased back into action, and would be ready to go fully by the time the playoffs roll around. Though, that’s no guarantee.

Generally, at least for LeBron James, he’s never needed time to ramp up. And that could play a huge role in what we can expect from this team in the playoffs. In fact, you can probably make the argument that the time off will only help LeBron in the postseason.

A few weeks off could do wonders for a 36-year-old LeBron heading into the playoffs. Keep in mind, we still haven’t seen Father Time really impact LeBron over the last few seasons. Assuming he makes a full recovery from this high ankle sprain, we could see a rejuvenated LeBron in the playoffs for the Lakers.

Both LeBron’s and AD’s health will be the key to the Lakers’ chances at repeating as champs. If both enter the playoffs 100 percent healthy and fresh, you can make the case that their recent injuries ended up being a blessing in disguise.

Next. Los Angeles Lakers: Is Anthony Davis close to a return?. dark

Over the next few weeks, we should find out more about where Anthony Davis and LeBron James stand health-wise but make no mistake, there’s a good chance that we will see a fresh, motivated, and engaged LeBron James in the playoffs. And that could end up being the key to a second consecutive championship for the Los Angeles Lakers.