How Much Will James and Davis Rest?
If you have the answer to this question, please, let me know, because we can make a ton of money off the Lakers’ season win totals and the odds to win the Pacific Division.
Last year’s championship run by the Raptors and subsequent crumbling of the Warriors because of injuries really shook up the league landscape. It didn’t just knock off the Warriors, it led to one of the biggest free agent summers in the last decade, and it might have finally convinced coaches, GMs, owners, and Adam Silver that drastic change is needed to the NBA schedule if we really want to watch the best in the world at their peak.
The Lakers are tops on the list of teams that will look to rest their stars. They did it last season, although it was more of a tanking move. James was actually hurt, but when it became apparent that they weren’t going to compete, they shut him down pretty quickly.
That won’t be the case this season. The Lakers are going to have to keep James and Davis healthy. James only played 55 games last year and Davis played in just 56 games.
Outside of injury, I definitely think they will play more than that, but I also would not be surprised if both guys sat out 15-to-20 games just for rest. Even though the league reduced back-to-backs to the fewest in history, each team still averaged 13.3 back-to-backs in 2018-19, and you can bet that James and Davis will be sitting out most, if not all of those games depending on the opponent.
All Eyes On Schedule Release
The problem with predicting this now is the schedule doesn’t come out until August. Once it is out, you can start to map out the games that are the most likely that James will sit out. However, Davis played 75 games in each of his two seasons leading up to 2018-19, so he does have the ability to play through things, he just always seems to be going to the locker room during the game.
I see the Lakers being very cautious though. They probably don’t care if they get one of the top seeds in the West. Doing so would mean sacrificing health heading into the playoffs.
There is also the fact that things will take time to gel in Los Angeles. With all this player movement and guys playing together for the first time, certain teams that are put together this summer may struggle in the outset of the season.
Limiting James and Davis to less than 70 games is likely though, regardless if their healthy all season. An expanding problem and variable with handicapping the NBA this season will be players resting and the lack of reporting on it. Be diligent is realizing these spots before making a bet. If a team is playing the Suns or Cavaliers in their third game in four nights, or on a back-to-back, chances are they won’t play with their full rosters.