The 2018-19 NBA season did not go according to plan for LeBron James after signing a four-year, $154 million deal with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2018 NBA free agency.
Along with James missing a career-high 27 games due to a groin strain injury, the Lakers unfortunately missed the 2019 NBA playoffs, which extended their streak to six seasons.
Heading into Year 2 with Anthony Davis and the Lakers, there are questions about James at this stage of his career as he is set to turn 35-years-old in his 17th season.
At 2019 Lakers Media Day, James addressed the negativity around him and revealed there was a reason why he stayed relatively quiet in his longest offseason since 2005.
“I’m very motivated,” James stated at his media press conference. “But I’m not in talking about it mode. I’ve been very quiet this summer for a reason. My mother always told me, ‘Don’t talk about it, be about it.’ So that’s where I’m at.”
At this stage of his future Hall of Fame career, the reality is James has accomplished everything possible, but he is clearly motivated to prove the media wrong again.
Unlike Year 1 that featured a young core and ‘tough-minded’ playmakers, James finally has a second All-Star player in Anthony Davis as well as a strong supporting cast.
Although James still averaged 27.4 points, 8.5 rebounds, and 8.3 assists (similar to career numbers) in a ‘down’ season, it was evident the Lakers needed to build a roster that maximized his strengths as a finisher and playmaker.
With plenty to prove, James and the Lakers have both done their part to give themselves a chance to win the 2020 NBA Finals. As James looks to remain relatively healthy, Davis and the role players can take some of the load off him.
One major question surrounding James is if and how he will adjust his game. While he wants Davis to be the team’s first option on offense, it is unclear what that exactly means.
When healthy, James remains the league’s best player. Although Father Time is undefeated, James is one of the most intelligent athletes and will take the proper steps to ensure his body gives the Lakers a chance to win it all.