Lakers’ Schroder hints LeBron will return soon: ‘I mean, he’s close’

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While the Lakers are making nothing official, LeBron James is rumored to be close to a return to the court.

Adding to that buzz is what Dennis Schroder told Jovan Buha of The Athletic.

“I mean, he’s close,” Schröder said. “I can tell you that much. We’re ready. We can’t wait for him to get back to help us win games again and be together at the right time. Eleven games in and get to work.”

The Lakers have kept their head above water going 8-11 since LeBron went out, and Schroder’s play has been a big part of that success. He has had to take over as the Lakers’ primary shot creator, and since LeBron went down Schroder has assisted on 38.9% of his teammates’ baskets when he is on the court. In April he has averaged 16.6 points a game, shot 40.4% from three, and dished out 8.4 assists a night. More important for the Lakers than his play over the last 19 games, if Schroder can carry this efficiency and production forward into the playoffs when LeBron returns, the Lakers become that much more dangerous.

That said, the Lakers aren’t going anywhere without a fully healthy LeBron back to playing at an MVP level — the team is 11.3 points per 100 possessions better when he is on the court this season. LeBron is the hub and all the spokes of the Lakers offense circle around him — since he went down with a high ankle sprain, Los Angeles has had the 28th ranked offense in the league. And that is with the improved play of Schroder (although most of those games were also without Anthony Davis).

A LeBron return changes the West playoff chase, and we seem to be getting close to that date.