LeBron James created mixed emotions amongst the Los Angeles Lakers faithful after his recent comments about the time ticking on his playing career and his desire to win more championships.
Currently sitting towards the bottom of the Western Conference standings, the Lakers have a lot of work to do in order to make something out of this season.
From James’ perspective, being surprised that you are playing at an elite level at 38-years-old is enough evidence for the Lakers front office to surround the four-time NBA champion with the right pieces to compete for another NBA Finals victory.
After James’ statement went viral, Anthony Davis was asked during Friday’s pregame interview about his co-star’s comments about not wanting to play basketball at a losing level. Davis, who has seen eye-to-eye with James in the past, agrees and supports his teammate’s attitude towards winning:
“I mean, he’s right. I’m pretty sure everybody in the league wants to be competitive and compete for championships. It sucks to lose, especially coming off of last year. And then you come into this year and you start 2-10 and then you make a run… It’s tough, he’s not getting any younger. So of course it only makes sense that he wants to compete for championships in the x-amount of years that he has left in him so I took nothing from it. I took it for exactly what it was, what he was saying, and I feel like it’s a true statement.”
It has been recently reported that the Lakers front office is giving ‘serious consideration’ to not making any major transactions at the February trade deadline. With this rumor, the pressure on James and Davis to lead a roster that does not look playoff-caliber should only grow.
James and Davis playing at an elite level every night when healthy is a given. The question is now thrown to Lakers Vice-President of Basketball Operations and General Manager Rob Pelinka to think about what he and the front office can do to surround the two superstars with enough talent to compete in a wide-open Western Conference.
Ham says James won’t allow himself to play fewer minutes
For first-year head coach Darvin Ham and the rest of his new Lakers coaching staff, having to balance whether or not to monitor James’ minutes at 38 years old is a challenge within itself. After all, King James is putting up elite numbers, so there is currently no cause to pause his spectacular performance.
However, Ham and his staff recognize James’ competitiveness and have even stated that he will not allow himself to play fewer minutes while the Lakers are fighting to reach at least a Play-In Tournament seed.
At a glance, any coach would want to structure the best player on the team’s minutes. However, if the Lakers want any chance at not going home early in April, James will have to continue to will this Lakers team to consistent victories in the middle of the regular season.
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