The Los Angeles Lakers landed the biggest superstar in the NBA when they signed LeBron James in free agency, but most aren’t projecting them to be serious title contenders this season.
The thought is that the team’s young core, which is comprised of Kyle Kuzma, Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram and Josh Hart, is talented but isn’t yet experienced enough to be dangerous.
After all, this Lakers core, while exciting and full of potential, won just 35 games last season. It was a marked improvement for a team that has been rebuilding but even with James leaping into contention would seem to be a tall order.
“I don’t know why people kind of just rule us out because we are young,” said Kuzma. “We are hungry. We are competitive. Anybody that watched us play last year, we were in a lot of games. Having one of the greatest players of all time is going to raise what we do, raise our level of focus and the team to a higher level. I don’t really see why [there is a need to be] so patient.”
Kuzma, of course, should feel upset that the Lakers are being written off before the season has even started. Confidence is important in the NBA so him feeling that the team is ready right now isn’t that surprising.
As Kuzma mentions, the team did lose a number of close games last season (and also suffered through a flood of injuries) so their record could have been even better.
That said, how quickly the young Lakers progress and develop chemistry with James and the rest of the veterans the team brought in will go a long way towards determining how successful they are this season. If Kuzma has his way, the Lakers just may surprise some people.