Anthony Davis has gone down with an injury and will be sidelined for at least three weeks. This was the last thing the Los Angeles Lakers needed amid a complex season where they rank 6th in the Western Conference.
AD was expected to carry this team this season, even with LeBron James and Russell Westbrook on the court. Now they'll be without AD for one month, leaving the Lakers in an uncomfortable position during the third month of competition.
With The Brow out, fans expect Russell Westbrook to step up and embrace a bigger role, but not everybody is convinced that can be good for the 17-time NBA champions. One of those is Shannon Sharpe, who recently said he doesn't trust Westbrook to lead the Lakers in AD's absence.
“I trust Russ zero and that’s when AD wasn’t playing like AD. If you go back and look at it, AD has not had a good season. AD has not played well with the exception of maybe two games, AD has not played the way AD was supposed to be playing. AD was supposed to be the No. 1 option. AD was supposed to be the leading scorer of this team, like he was his first year in L.A. AD hasn't come close to that. But the last thing I want Russ is to do more. That's the last thing. Do you want a guy that’s inefficient and turnover-prone doing more? I need Russ to do less,” said Sharpe.
Russ has uplifted his level in recent games, but that's not enough for him to lead the Lakers to get victories, especially now that Davis is out. Westbrook is still finding his touch this season and the Lakers keep struggling.
Perhaps Westbrook protecting the ball better would improve the Lakers' level this campaign, but it doesn't seem like that's the only solution to this issue. They need to make big changes to turn things around. Fortunately, they are 6th in the West with a 16-16 game. However, not a single team .500 or below after 20 games has become champions, so the Lakers must be worried about plenty of things right now.