When LeBron James announced that he was signing with the Los Angeles Lakers in free agency, everything immediately changed for the rest of the team. That rang especially true when a second big-name superstar didn’t follow James.
Nonetheless, the likes of Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram and Kyle Kuzma suddenly went from an impressive, promising young core to James’ primary supporting cast tasked with getting the Lakers back to the playoffs and possibly into championship contention.
All of the young Lakers have been lauded for their work ethic, but James’ signing has appeard to kick that into another gear. In an interview on Good Day L.A., Ball spoke about how hard the young players have been working for their new teammate and themselves:
“I ran into him a few times. Any time you get a player like that to come to the team, obviously it’s going to spark ‘em, for sure. Guys have been in there working extra hard for him, and for themselves as well. We think we can do something big this year. So we’re all in there.”
The young Lakers understand that the pressure on them has increased tenfold with James’ arrival. The three-time champion has been to the NBA Finals eight straight years and a ninth trip could largely hinge on how well Ball, Kuzma, Ingram and Josh Hart continue to develop.
Ball especially will have a giant microscope on every move he makes. After an up-and-down rookie season that showcased his good and bad, everyone will be watching to see how much he grows, and how he fits in with James.
Additionally, there’s the pressure of Rajon Rondo looming to potentially start as well. With James, this young core, and the veterans signed such as, Lance Stephenson and JaVale McGee, the Lakers have an interesting collection of talent.
Seeing if it can all come together into a true contender will have all eyes on them, which is why everyone is working so hard this offseason to ensure things go well when the season starts.