James, 37, is averaging 24.9 points, 8.8 rebounds and 6.9 assists per game in his 20th season, although his efficiency is the lowest it has been since his rookie year.
Shooting a career-worst 23.9 per cent from long range, James' 45.7 per cent figure from the field would be his worst finish since 2004 if he is unable to right the ship.
The Lakers are struggling to start the season, entering Friday's contest against the San Antonio Spurs with a 5-11 record. They are also 0-6 away from home, which they are looking to change in San Antonio.
During James' absence, Anthony Davis has rediscovered some of his best form, including a stunning 37-point, 21-rebound, five-block, five-steal performance in a loss to the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday.
While the early returns have been poor, there are signs that this roster construction for the Lakers has a chance to figure things out.
After posting the 21st-ranked defense in the league last season, the Lakers now own the eighth-best defense, and are only being weighed down by their 29th-ranked offense.
James returning with a red-hot Davis should begin to push the Lakers' offense to at least league-average, and when partnered with a top-10 defense and two go-to options, they will feel they still have everything to play for.