Brooklyn Nets: Does LeBron James’ injury change Nets’ championship path?

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 20: LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers (Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 20: LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers (Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images) /

The Brooklyn Nets are expected to be one of the favorites in the Eastern Conference, and the Los Angeles Lakers will always be considered a team that could come out of the West due to the presence of the ageless LeBron James.

However, the ironman James suffered an uncharacteristic injury that will force him out of the lineup on Saturday.

James left LA’s game against the Atlanta Hawks after suffering a high ankle sprain, an issue that will force a Lakers team that is already playing without Anthony Davis to carry on without James for an indeterminate amount of time.

The Lakers are third in the Western Conference, just a few percentage points behind the second-place Phoenix Suns. You don’t have to be the most well-read basketball fan in the world to put two and two together and figure out that James‘ absence could make getting a top seed much harder.

Should the Nets be worried about their potential Finals opponent starting to come apart at the seams? While this could change the Lakers’ fortunes dramatically, the Nets shouldn’t expect Los Angeles to completely capsize.

LeBron James’ injury might not change things too much for the Brooklyn Nets.

The Lakers might be without James and Davis for the foreseeable future, but this team will still be in the top half of the Western Conference. Even if those two were in the lineup, can they be trusted to overcome the Utah Jazz in the regular season standings?

James is no stranger to this sort of scenario, as he famously took the Cleveland Cavaliers to the Finals in a season that handed him the No. 4 seed in the East. It might be slightly tougher for the Lakers to take on the superstar trio of Kevin Durant, James Harden, and Kyrie Irving, but James had been able to overcome these odds before.

An ankle sprain and Davis’ ongoing woes are not injuries that should be taken lightly, but the expectation is that they will be ready to go by the time the postseason runs around. If the Nets are ever going to face the Lakers in the playoffs, they will likely have both of them at close to full health.

Even if James and Davis aren’t 100% healthy in a hypothetical Finals matchup against Durant, Harden, and Irving, their size would still be deadly enough against a smaller Brooklyn lineup to give them some headaches.

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