The Los Angeles Lakers wrapped up the first half of the 2022-23 season with a big win over the New Orleans Pelicans. Los Angeles is now five games under .500, heading into the second half with a 27-32 record.
Wednesday’s win over the Pelicans was a special one for Lakers fans to watch. Not only was it a feel-good primetime game to watch before a long break, but it was the first look at this new-look Lakers roster.
Rob Pelinka reinvented the roster with multiple trades at the deadline and with LeBron James returning to action, this was the first time that the new-look roster was completely together. It is safe to say that fans loved the results that followed.
It wasn’t just a feel-good win for the Lakers, though. Los Angeles also accomplished a pretty big milestone that may not see very large, but could have massive implications on the team in the second half during its playoff push.
The Lakers winning with LeBron James playing fewer than 30 minutes is massive.
Before the season, Darvin Ham reiterated multiple times that he did not want to give LeBron James and Anthony Davis playoff-type minutes early in the season. And what happened? The team was so bad that Ham was essentially forced to do so.
This resulted in Davis missing over a month with a foot injury and the current lingering pain that LeBron as been in with his foot. Los Angeles has one of the most injury-prone players in the league and a 38-year-old. Lessening their workload in the season is ideal.
The team was never able to do that, though, and things may have finally changed with all of the new additions. Sure, LeBron was coming back from a three-game absence and that naturally limited his minutes but this isn’t the first time he has come back from a multi-game break.
And coming out of those multi-game breaks he never played fewer than 30 minutes. This game was obviously different and it is because of the new talent that is on the roster.
If Los Angeles can continue winning games without having to run LeBron to the ground then the ceiling is higher than many fans expect it to be. Not only will the regular-season outcomes go in the Lakers’ favor, but they will have a better LeBron (and AD) in the playoffs to rely on.
The Los Angeles Lakers have the means to improve via the buyout market and there is a new candidate that is used to playing alongside LeBron James.
Hopefully, the win over the Pelicans can be a learning moment for Darvin Ham so that LeBron can actually make it to the NBA Playoffs.