The Lakers’ injury-prone season ended with a first-round playoff exit against the Suns, and LeBron James said they must now use that time to heal.
For starters, Anthony Davis missed the majority of the final three games with a groin injury. James also admitted a lingering high-ankle sprain still was not 100 percent.
“The No. 1 thing for us is getting AD healthy,” James said. “If we get big fella healthy … that will put us in the best possible chance to be successful next year.”
This year, LA limped its way to the seventh seed in the East and was a far cry from the champions of 2019. Injuries had something to do with it, but as was the case so often in James’ runs with the Heat and Cavaliers, the Lakers proved to not have nearly enough depth.
“The one thing that bothers me more than anything is we never really got an opportunity to see our full team at full strength,” James said. “Either because of injury or COVID or something going on with our ballclub this year, we could never fully get into a rhythm. And never really kind of see the full potential of what we could be capable of.”
James added that he intends to skip the Olympics this season, focusing instead on “the Tune Squad” and his role in Space Jam 2. This marks the first time he was eliminated in the first round in his entire career.
“It doesn’t matter to me as far as not making it out of the first round,” he said. “What matters to me is getting this team back healthy. Me not being able to be at my full strength throughout this series, that’s my main focus.”
As for Davis, he attempted to go early in Game 6, but admitted his body just wouldn’t allow what his mind set out to do.
“It never really felt good. but the competitive nature in me wanted to go out there and help the team as best as I could,” he said. “My body didn’t agree.”
Davis missed 30 regular-season games, James missed a career-high 26. With only one of those two on the floor at a time (and sometimes none), the Lakers proved to be fairly ordinary.
“The No. 1 thing for us is getting A.D. healthy,” James said. “If we get big fella healthy … that will put us in the best possible chance to be successful next year.”