Los Angeles Lakers vice president of basketball operations Rob Pelinka took an unprecedented route after winning the 2020 NBA championship, completely retooling the roster with younger, more talented pieces to surround LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
While there are clearly still some improvements to be made, the Lakers are second in the Western Conference standings despite stretches of subpar play. That is largely thanks to the phenomenal play of James, who is putting together yet another MVP-level season at age 36 in his 18th year.
In a career-low 34.6 minutes per game, James is averaging 25.7 points, 8.2 rebounds and 7.9 assists. Pelinka recently spoke about James’ play and he the inspiration that provides, via Spectrum SportsNet:
“I think all of us were unbelievably inspired watching that Cavs game the other night where he just took over. Seeing that he’s averaging over 50% from the field goals and over 40% from 3, it really is just remarkable that he’s getting better with time.
“As we all know, Lakers Nation sees it, he’s mastered the mental side of the game to such an extent where he can dominate with just how he thinks the game and sees the game. He’s such a competitor, you could tell when camp started it wasn’t, ‘Well, I’m going to use the excuse of winning a championship in October to have a slow ramp-up.’ He came in from Day 1 fully engaged.”
As Pelinka noted, James appears fully locked in despite the historically short offseason. He had a built-in excuse to not give 100% effort to begin the season, but decided against it to help the Lakers get some early wins.
Due to the talented nature of the Western Conference and Utah Jazz recently going on a historic stretch, the Lakers’ record is only good for second place.
LeBron not fatigued
Despite the Lakers recently having three consecutive games that went into overtime, and James logging over 40 minutes in each of those, he said fatigue was not a factor. Dennis Schroder even revealed that James had thoroughly enjoyed the overtime games.
Have you subscribed to our YouTube channel? It’s the best way to watch player interviews, exclusive coverage from events, participate in live shows, and more!