The Los Angeles Lakers‘ busy offseason has pegged them as one of the NBA title favorites behind the Brooklyn Nets. However, lingering doubt remains around the revamped roster around LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Before next season kicks off, James stated that the teams’ health will be the determining factor in their NBA title push.
LeBron and Lakers fall short of NBA title repeat due to injuries
James entered last season hoping to lead the Lakers to a second straight NBA title.
However, Los Angeles quickly became impacted by the short offseason leading to nagging injuries. James performed at an elite level, receiving heavy MVP consideration before missing six weeks due to a high right ankle injury.
The 36-year-old returned before the playoffs but struggled to recapture the same explosiveness he had before his ailment. It played a pivotal factor in the Lakers falling to a first-round postseason exit. As the 2021-22 campaign inches closer, James voiced what he believes will determine the team’s NBA title chances.
LeBron James reveals the 1 factor that will make or break the Lakers’ championship hopes
The Lakers’ revamped roster has drawn plenty of high expectations concerning competing for an NBA title as the second-highest betting favorites behind the Brooklyn Nets.
However, there remains lingering doubt regarding the fit of the talent around James and Davis, primarily Westbrook. The four-time league MVP voiced that he believes another factor will prove to be more pivotal in determining the Lakers’ NBA title chances.
“The ultimate goal is to obviously win a championship,” James said via ESPN. “And it starts with, obviously, health as the No. 1 thing. We’re excited to know that we’ve given ourselves another opportunity to be available to each other, and that’s what it came down to.”
Injuries derailed the Lakers last season as both Davis and James missed significant time. Davis limped through the first few weeks dealing with a leg injury that became a calf injury related to his Achilles tendon, forcing him to miss two months. Meanwhile, James suffered a high right ankle sprain that sidelined him for six weeks.
They both returned before the playoffs but still dealt with lingering issues. Davis showed flashes of dominance, but a groin injury in the first-round series against the Phoenix Suns cemented the Lakers’ early playoff exit.
Los Angeles’ reconstructed roster filled with veteran talent further underlines the importance of remaining healthy through the regular season. The team will experience an adjustment period finding on-the-court chemistry, but if nagging injuries become a constant, they will never reach their full potential.
Anthony Davis’ health remains the key to the Lakers’ NBA title chances
If it wasn’t evident already, the Lakers are aiming for nothing less than an NBA title.
The front office purposely constructed a roster with the hopes of making a deep push through the playoffs. James is entering his 19th season, and there is no clarity concerning how much longer he will perform at an elite level.
Los Angeles wants to make the most out of his time, which places tremendous pressure on Davis to finally move past his health issues as the key to the team’s success. He spent the offseason working on his body by changing his trainer and workout regimen.
“I’ve missed games in my career, but the Achilles missing 30, not being able to play at full strength in the playoffs against Phoenix, didn’t play Game 5, that didn’t sit well with me. So I made an emphasis on just taking care of my body and getting it back to what it was as far as strength-wise my first year here,” Davis said via SB Nation. “That was my biggest focus this summer.”
When healthy, Davis is one of the league’s best players behind his ability to heavily impact both ends of the floor. The Lakers will lean on him as the anchor as it did during the 2020 NBA title run. If he can stay on the court, expect Los Angeles to push toward a championship.