LeBron James has made it a point to prove his doubters wrong in his 17th NBA season as he is putting up MVP-caliber numbers during the 2019-20 NBA season.
James has assumed full responsibility of the offense by playing the point guard position for head coach Frank Vogel and he has responded by leading the league in assists (11.0). His ability to read the defense is unmatched as he is able to pass either on the move or in the post, consistently hitting his teammates for wide-open looks.
However, in their runaway win against the New York Knicks, James was more aggressive scoring the ball as he looked to exploit a team that clearly had no way of guarding him. He scored 31 points on 9-of-19 shooting, including hitting 6-of-12 of his three-point attempts.
In his walk-off interview, James expressed his belief in his abilities on the court.
“I work on my game every day to not have any weakness. Some of my game is better than others, but I believe I don’t have any weakness and if a team decides to go under my pick-and-roll, I have the luxury to stop and pop and shoot the three-pointer and they was giving it to me tonight so I just took it,” James said.
The Knicks seemed determined to wall off the paint and cut off any of James’ driving lanes, opting instead to go way under screens and concede the open three. The 35-year-old clearly obliged as he did not hesitate to launch from distance, making New York pay and eventually blowing the game wide open midway through the fourth quarter.
James has proven almost impossible to defend when his jump shot is falling as he is already a force when he has a full head of steam driving to the basket. The pressure he is able to apply on opposing defenses is something only a few people in the NBA can do and fortunately for the Lakers, he has turned back the clock and put in a vintage season.
While James’ resurgence has been paramount to the purple and gold’s success, there is still work to be done as the team has shown how vulnerable they are whenever he heads to the bench. With the Lakers establishing themselves as one of the few teams with a legitimate shot to win the 2020 NBA Finals, general manager Rob Pelinka and the rest of the front office need to do their due diligence to improve the roster.