Anthony Davis of the Los Angeles Lakers is set to return to the lineup on Jan. 25 against the Brooklyn Nets after missing a month due to an MCL strain.
Before the Lakers beat the Orlando Magic sans Anthony Davis, fans got a glimpse of how Davis was recovering from his MCL sprain.
The applause indicates which shots he made and how excited people are to see him play again. On Tuesday, it appears that AD will be on the floor for more than warmups for the first time.
With the Lakers currently in ninth place in the Western Conference with a 23-24 record, Davis’ return would be critical for the upcoming playoffs.
Anthony Davis of the Los Angeles Lakers is expected to return from an MCL sprain against the Brooklyn Nets.
Looking at game logs, it may appear like the Lakers don’t need AD to win: they are 10-10 without him this season. However, the Lakers have fared marginally worse since Davis’ MCL sprain, going 7-9 while he recovers.
Advanced statistics appear to support the same conclusion. When Davis is on the court, the Lakers have a lower net rating (-2.5) than when he is not (-0.8). Davis does contribute on defense, but only marginally: when on the floor, he has a defensive rating of 108.0, compared to 110.4 when he is not.
Davis, on the other hand, can only assist the Lakers, at least on defense. The Lakers have been mediocre all season, and they’ll need the finest players on their roster to help them break through and earn a playoff berth rather than a play-in spot.
“Just having him on the floor provides so much for us offensively and defensively,” LeBron James said of his teammate.
Even though the Lakers have had a terrible season, AD is one of the best players in the league, and having him available is all the Lakers can hope for as they play on the edge of the playoffs.