Well, we are two games into the NBA season and as a delusional Lebron fan, who claims to be sensible, at times, it seems only fitting to dive into Bron-Bron in LA.
Now that we have escaped the mystique of the King going to Hollywood, reality begins to set in as “my” Lakers are 0-2.
I prepared myself for the fact that the first 2 games were going to be L’s, given that the Lakers were going against a good Portland team, with an unbelievable home court, and then the Rockets who still won 65 games last year. Both of these games were competitive, and in both of them, there were moments where I felt like the Lakers were possibly the better team, but then reality set in and their youth colors showed.
Sure, Rondo, Stephenson and McGee (the latest offseason acquisitions for the Lakers) are vets, but the young nucleus of Ingram, Ball, Kuzma and even KCP are going to have to get comfortable playing with a guy that is ball dominant, has all eyes on him and expects nothing short of greatness. Think about the difference between age 21 and age 24, in terms of your professionalism and preparation. Those things come with time, but they have the luxury of being beside one of the GOATs to help expedite the maturation process.
At the end of the day, the Lakers are going to be fine this year, if they can gel together and work through the growing pains at the beginning of the season. People often forget that when Lebron joined the Heat in 2011, they started 9-8. Granted, that team had a lot more talent, but the point is it still took some time, even with All Stars.
I think the ceiling for the Lakers, with this roster, is as follows: 4th seed in the West, getting home court in the first series and winning one series simply because of Lebron. I think the floor is they miss the playoffs, sliding in to the 9th seed. I know that sounds crazy, but look at these Western Conference rosters! I think, when the dust settles, they will finish 6th or 7th, but I guarantee no one wants to play LBJ and Co. in the first round.
As far as future outlooks, I will definitely explore that more as the season goes on, but one thing I can say with certainty is that I do not want Jimmy “Locker Room Cancer” Butler on this team. Let’s wait until next year to see if Kawhi or Klay Thompson want to join.
Finally, we all know the off-court genius of Lebron James and how he makes calculated move after calculated move. I agree that going to the west coast has some post-basketball implications, however, don’t think for a second he is not trying to compete for a championship over the next 4 years. It just won’t be this year.
Bottom line: I’m pumped for the beginning of the Lebron in Los Angeles era. I still can’t stand the Warriors, and I’m ready for Lebron to give them (another) run for their money. But watching Jack Nicholson and Lebron converse, court side, is pretty damn cool.