The Los Angeles Lakers are 12-12 so far in the 2021-22 season. Lebron James has fittingly only played in 12 games. The Lakers have not won every game James has played in, but the connection is there.
Updating James' health has been a marathon assignment this season. Before James' COVID-19 scare (and subsequent return after getting enough negative tests to be deemed safe) James had been dealing with a pesky abdominal strain. Speaking with the media on Monday, James had good news.
“I feel decent physically. I’m still getting back to where I was before the (initial abdominal strain).”
Encouraging news as long as you don't read too much into the word 'decent.' I am sure most Laker fans would prefer to hear James say that he feels great, or as the baseball cliche goes, in 'the best shape of his life.' At James' age, decent is going to have to be good enough for Laker fans.
James is still one of the best players in the world, and because of that, the Lakers will always need him on the floor. Role players can help fill the void and fill minutes, but those players have been in short supply for the Lakers. Trevor Ariza is on the mend to be back into the lineup, but the adjustment period for Ariza may take multiple games, given that he's never played with this team before. That statement may sound too obvious, but the fact of the matter is that with 24 games played, much of this team has still had no time to mesh together on the court.
The Lakers are going to need King James, and there's no mitigating that.