The Los Angeles Lakers have added a number of new faces to the roster this offseason in addition to a new head coach in Darvin Ham. But regardless of the new faces, there is little doubt that the Lakers will go as far as LeBron James leads them.
Even though he is entering his 20th NBA season, James’ remains amongst the NBA’s elite players and his performance last season was proof of that. Additionally, LeBron is completely healthy after dealing with an ankle issue that limited him to 56 games.
Taking over a team with an all-time great in LeBron along with championship aspirations is a tough task for Ham in his first-ever head coaching position. And in an appearance on the “All The Smoke” podcast with Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson, Ham continued to preach sacrifice when asked about what he expects from LeBron:
“Just the collaboration. I know where he is in his career, he’s done everything possible it is to do as an individual basketball player. He’s conquered everything, but again we talk about sacrifice. First thing people think about is sacrificing scoring output or shots or something like that. No, sacrifice in making selfless plays. If you don’t have the ball pushing it in the break, are you willing to sprint to your spot and open up a lane for your teammate? Are you willing to sprint and open up an open shot for your teammate? Are you willing to box out even though you not gon get that damn rebound? But you putting a body on a body so your man can come in and scoop it up and we can get going with our pace.”
Ham would then go deeper in his praise of James, saying that he believes the future Hall of Famer is absolutely deserving of being in the conversation for greatest basketball players ever:
“So that’s the thing that I’m thinking about, and my hats off to him. Seeing him when he first came in the league and all the so-called pressure that was put on him. He’s risen to the occasion time and time again. He is wholeheartedly deserving to be in that GOAT conversation, he’s top-5 dead or alive in my opinion. I’m thrilled to be able to coach him and gonna try to learn from him and gonna try to show him what I see, and hold everybody accountable because those are three words that I stand on and live by. It’s gonna be even more so with this team: competitiveness, togetherness, and accountability.”
Considering his accomplishments, statistics and overall impact on the game of basketball, it is hard to argue James’ place amongst the all-time greats. Ham has heaped nothing but praise on all of his players but has also continually preached that mantra and those three words.
LeBron’s all-time standing can not be questioned, but he will also be focused on the present, which means getting the Lakers back to championship contention.
James, Davis & Westbrook ‘committed to one another’ following phone call
If the Lakers are to make the leap back into the NBA’s elite, it sounds as if they will do so with the same trio of stars as last season.
Though initially it looked as if the Lakers would be dealing away Russell Westbrook this offseason, nothing has yet to come to fruition. Furthermore, Westbrook, James and Anthony Davis have apparently fully committed to one another during a phone conversation between the three.
Of course there remains the chance that a Westbrook deal could materialize, but for as long as all three are with the Lakers, they plan on being on the same page.
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