With the start of their championship defense almost here, the Los Angeles Lakers are not free of the usual burning questions that teams face.
The NBA will open its season on December 22. After an abbreviated offseason, every team in the Association enters with airs of uncertainty and optimism. A lack of a normal training camp puts more pressure on teams that made significant additions or subtractions during the offseason. The defending champs are no different.
The Los Angeles Lakers boast probably the best squad in the NBA. The team addressed major issues that they faced in the previous season, like half-court offense creation when LeBron James sits down and upgraded the center position.
However, the Lakers had the shortest offseason in NBA history at 71 days which leads to our first question.
How many times will LeBron James and Anthony Davis be load managed?
Last season, LeBron James and Anthony Davis played 67 and 62 games respectively. Both players saw about 34 minutes of playing time per game. With the King entering his 18th season in the league and coming off his 10th Finals appearance, he will need to be rested on some occasions.
James has already defied how much mileage an NBA player can rack up over the course of a career, but there is a reason why Father Time is undefeated. No matter who you are, he comes for you. We have seen it with athletes across many sports. LeBron so far has managed to stave off the effects and if the Lakers want to repeat he will have to continue with this magic trick.
Anthony Davis is another candidate to be load managed, but it could be a rare sight to see Frank Vogel sit out both superstars at the same time. Davis has battled some injuries throughout his career, but last season he was relatively healthy and this streak of good health helped massively with team chemistry.
The reality of the situation is that both players will have to sit out at various points in order to keep them fresh for the playoffs and compete for a repeat. This makes the additions of Dennis Schroder and Montrezl Harrell even more important. Both players can be huge contributors in the absence of AD and/or LBJ.
Consequently, this leads us to our next question.