2018-19 NBA Season Review
LeBron James‘ first season with the Los Angeles Lakers hardly went according to plan. When James initially signed a four-year, $154 million deal in 2018 NBA free agency, it was clear Year 1 would be a process. Beyond James, the Lakers were flooded with young players not ready to reach their full potential yet as well as mismatched veterans who never truly found a rhythm with them in Los Angeles.
Despite all of that, the Lakers had a 20-14 record, which was good enough for the Western Conference’s fourth spot on Christmas Day. However, it was that Christmas Day game against the Golden State Warriors that changed the outlook of the 2018-19 NBA season. In the third quarter, James awkwardly fell reaching for the ball and it led him to miss a career-high 17 consecutive games due to a groin strain.
Once James came back, he was never quite the same. While still putting up incredible numbers, he looked like a player who came back too early from an injury. Along with that and a number of other season-ending injuries, the Lakers failed to make the playoffs for a sixth straight year.
However, the 34-year-old still averaged 27.4 points, 8.5 rebounds, and 8.3 assists while shooting 51% from the field and 34% from the three-point line in his 16th season.
2019-20 NBA Season Outlook
The 2019-20 season figures to go much better for James. For starters, the Lakers front office completely overhauled the roster surrounding the future Hall of Famer, giving him one of the most talented groups in the league for Year 2. This started by finally landing a second All-Star player via trade in Anthony Davis from the New Orleans Pelicans.
Following that, a report stated James will likely to be the team’s starting point guard. While being the team’s primary ballhandler is a more accurate description, there is no doubt James will be fighting for a new career-high in assists (9.1 during the 2017-18 season with the Cleveland Cavaliers).
Even in Year 17, James looks to be one of the most dominant players in the league once again. He appears to be fully recovered from his groin strain injury and his shiny new roster will help ease the load off him offensively while pushing him to hopefully be his best self defensively.
For some reason, the league is doubting the ceiling of the 2019-20 Lakers, but it is James at the helm playing a sort of Magic Johnson-style role that could help them win it all in the 2020 NBA Finals, which would be their first in a decade.