What felt like a formality became official on Friday when the Lakers announced that LeBron James would miss the remainder of the season with a sprained ankle. James has played just once in the last six games since suffering the injury.
Lakers announce LeBron James is out for the remainder of the season pic.twitter.com/mvCEYsYeej— Jacob Rude (@JacobRude) April 8, 2022
The biggest consequence of this is that LeBron will not be winning the scoring title this season. James would have needed to play two more games down the stretch to qualify for the scoring title, though a possibility of playing one more game and winning it was on the table.
However, with James failing to play 58 games, his points total averaged over 58 games will slot him third in the league in the scoring race at season’s end. It’s a remarkable season all the same, but won’t end with a scoring crown. It also ends all the silly narratives that James was only focused on winning the scoring title at the end of the season.
If anything, it makes the final two games he did play look more impressive. After suffering the injury against the Pelicans, James battled through and scored 39 points. He would then miss his next two games before returning for another game against the Pelicans that he scored 38 points in as his final outing of the season.
Over his final 11 games of the season, James averaged 36.2 points per game on 54.3% shooting from the field and 40.2% shooting from the 3-point line. He finished the season averaging 30.3 points per contest in the 56 games he played.
This will also be the third time in the last four seasons that James’ season either ended prematurely due to injury or his time on the court was severely hampered because of an injury. In many ways, Russell Westbrook was brought in as insurance for those injuries but, well, yeah.
The reality is that injuries have become part of the path the Lakers have to navigate with James moving forward.