The injury-enforced absence of Anthony Davis is bringing comparisons between the situation of LeBron James and Michael Jordan in 1997-98.
Lakers Nation was abuzz with excitement about a repeat campaign after the team enjoyed a great offseason. Despite losing the likes of Rajon Rondo, Dwight Howard and Danny Green, they got arguably deeper.
The signings of Montrezl Harrell, Marc Gasol and the Dennis Schroder trade made the Lakers a better offensive team. Or so it seemed. The Lakers have faced issues with creating offense in crunch time through many of their recent games.
Dennis Schroder has now missed 4 straight games, of which the Lakers have lost 3. Anthony Davis has been ruled out till after the All-Star weekend. LeBron James definitely needs better support from his teammates if they are to retake the top seed.
How this scenario for LeBron James is similar to that of Michael Jordan in 1997-98
With Schroder back, James will at least have a two-way player with the ability to generate offense for others. This should place the Lakers in position to make a run just like the Bulls in the 1997-98 season.
Back then, Scottie Pippen had been ruled out for the first 35 games of the season with an injury. The 6-time All-Star’s absence was initially felt a ton by Michael Jordan and co.
But MJ got the Bulls out of their funk with a clutch 49-point game in double overtime against the LA Clippers.
Eventually, with the support of Dennis Rodman, Jordan got the Bulls to an eminently acceptable 24-11 record. After Pippen returned, the Bulls got back into championship shape and took the #1 seed in the East.