It will likely be forgotten because of how poorly their season went, but Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James turned in an elite 2021-22 campaign that might have warranted more MVP consideration.
Even in Year 19, James was close to dragging the Lakers to a playoff berth and despite missing it, he believed the season ultimately was not a failure. The star forward, when healthy, looked as good as he ever has, which bodes well for a Lakers bounce back in 2022-23 assuming they are able to make the right coaching hire and retool the roster appropriately around him and Anthony Davis.
Another All-Star who had a good season was DeMar DeRozan as he played like an MVP candidate for most of the year for the Chicago Bulls. DeRozan found himself as the veteran for a young Bulls team that looks like it is on the rise and when asked about how he will approach his future as the elder statesman, he pointed to James as a source of inspiration, via Julia Poe of the Chicago Tribune:
DeMar DeRozan on how he approaches the future of his career as the most veteran player on the Bulls roster: “If LeBron’s still doing what he’s doing, I’ve got hope.”
— Julia Poe (@byjuliapoe) April 28, 2022
James is seemingly defying Father Time as he has shown little to no decline in his game despite getting older. His athleticism has waned as expected, but James remains one of the best scorers and playmakers in the league, a testament to his work ethic and basketball IQ.
In this day and age, stars are able to play like stars well past their prime and for someone like DeRozan, that should also be the case considering his game is not dependent on speed or acrobatics. The longevity of the game’s biggest and brightest stars is a welcomed development for the NBA and its fans will be exciting to watch James and DeRozan continue to do their thing for the foreseeable future.
Magic Johnson said DeMar DeRozan wanted to play for Lakers
Hindsight is 20/20, but last offseason, there was a legitimate debate about who the Lakers should trade for. The team eventually acquired Russell Westbrook from the Washington Wizards, but Magic Johnson revealed that DeRozan’s agent had called him and told him that the star wanted to come home and play for Los Angeles.
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