And that was with Davis playing.
Davis will miss at least four weeks with a mid-foot sprain suffered in their win over the Jazz yesterday, the Lakers announced.
Los Angeles (27-31) is ninth in the Western Conference – on track to need to go 2-0 in play-in games, including one on the road, just to make the playoffs. If LeBron and Davis are healthy, the Lakers could do that and maybe even win multiple series. Those stars offer a high ceiling.
But Los Angeles’ baseline level is mediocre, especially considering Davis’ health issues. The Lakers are significantly closer to missing the play-in tournament altogether than directly qualifying for the playoffs as a top-six seed. Climbing the standings will be that much harder without Davis, who’d been playing better since returning from a knee injury.
At least the first week of Davis absence coincides with the All-Star break.
This timeline probably eliminates any chance of Davis becoming an All-Star this year. Suns All-Star Chris Paul just hurt his hand. If that necessitates another West injury replacement, NBA commissioner Adam Silver could name Davis while simultaneously naming an actually available replacement for the replacement. But Davis being set to miss so much more time makes it harder to justify honoring him as an All-Star this year.