Basketball was alive and well as the Los Angeles Lakers were once again amidst the elite and quickly turned into a championship favorite during the 2019-20 NBA season.
LeBron James was having a throwback season despite being in Year 17, playing at a high level on a nightly basis and leading the league in assists for the first time in his career. James was a man on a mission and looked well on his way to powering Los Angeles to their first playoff berth in several years.
However, the key to the team’s success was their on-floor chemistry as they gelled a lot faster than expected and played together on both ends of the floor.
According to Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated, it appears as though the quick adjustment period was aided by some pick-up games held before the season.
“Like Jordan’s, James’s pickup games drew a collection of NBA talent. Chris Paul and Draymond Green; DeMar DeRozan and Buddy Hield. On the first morning Dudley arrived at the facility at 5:30; he was greeted by the sound of James lifting weights. When the game started, James insisted that the Lakers who were there—Davis, Dudley, guard Kentavius Caldwell-Pope and center JaVale McGee—play together. Against a collection of All-Stars, James’s group won four straight. After sitting out a game, the pickup Lakers came back and won two more. Says Dudley, “LeBron wasn’t playing around that day.”
NBA players often workout together in the summer to prepare for the upcoming season and scrimmages are often a common way of doing so. However, this report is intriguing because the names listed are all talented and for the Lakers team led by James to win multiple games is impressive no matter how one looks at it.
There was a lot of talk as to whether or not James could lead a team to the promised land when considering his age and the amount of minutes on his body, but he quelled all those concerns with his play throughout the regular season. He came into the season in top shape and it showed in his movements as he appeared just as quick and explosive on the floor as he ever has.
Despite that, there is uncertainty whether or not fans will see James and the rest of the purple and gold again this season due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. It would truly be a waste if Lakers fans did not get a chance to see a motivated James in the 2020 NBA playoffs.