As the 2021-22 NBA season nears, so does the annual string of predictions and polls that provide bulletin board material for teams throughout the coming months. Perhaps no team has found more to fuel them than LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers.
James famously listed off various points of disrespect when L.A. won the 2020 NBA championship, and now the current iteration of the team figures to have even more to motivate them. Bulletin board material often reaches its peak during the unveiling of the annual GM Survey on NBA.com.
In this year’s GM Survey — released Tuesday morning — James can find his name attached to almost every category, although not as high on the lists as he’d prefer.
Starting with the good news, James was ranked as the No. 1 best passer and the most versatile NBA player. He received 33% of the vote in the former and 57% in the latter. Those were the only two categories in which he took the top spot.
With 27% of the vote, James was ranked the No. 2 power forward in the NBA. He was also the No. 2 small forward and the second-best leader, according to the GMs. James also took some third-place finishes, namely a player who forces opposing coaches to make the most adjustments (17%) and most versatile defender (10%).
Finally, he was ranked as the No. 4 best point guard with 7% of the vote. However, that is where the bad news kicks in.
James was not given any votes to win the 2021-22 MVP award. He also found himself in the “also receiving votes” category for best player to start a franchise with, best potential future head coach and most athletic, while not receiving any votes for best player to take the final shot.
While being mentioned in so many categories might make it hard for someone to see this as disrespectful, James is well-known for taking the Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant approach to finding motivation.
The lack of a single vote for MVP may be all James needs to flip the switch and put together a remarkable season. Either way, the Lakers are the beneficiaries.
James wants Lakers to be better in transition
The Lakers were a lackluster team last season in both the half-court offense and transition. That’s the main reason they went for Russell Westbrook via trade, and clearly James agrees with the strategy.
He spoke about how he wants the Lakers to improve as a transition team this season, saying that he believes that can be this team’s best attribute.
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