When LeBron James decided to take his talents to Los Angeles I knew I needed some time to think about both the magnitude of the move and my gratefulness towards him. Let's just say it together a couple of times. LeBron James is a Los Angeles Laker. LeBron James is a Los Angeles Laker. LeBron James is a Los Angeles Laker. The more I say it the more it feels right. The greatest singular athlete of this generation is going to the entertainment mecca. The best basketball player of this century is going to the most storied franchise in basketball.
Growing up in Hudson, Ohio, a suburban town right in between Cleveland and Akron, from my childhood to my current young-adult state I have never been fixated on an athlete quite like I have with LeBron. He made Cleveland one of the most relevant cities in sports. Looking back, that didn't seem feasible, and now that he is gone the people are back to praying the Browns can win 5 games. With all that being said I have never been a Cleveland guy, my parents grew up in suburban Pittsburgh and well, that doesn't get me a lot of brownie points with fellow Clevelanders. With that being said I just want to give a big THANK YOU to LeBron James. The memories, the championship, the helping of the community, has been nothing short of amazing. You are everything people want as a role-model and more. Okay let's talk basketball now.
What should we expect from the LAKE SHOW this season? I think we should thank LeBron for going to the Lakers because this Western Conference regular season is going to be wicked. Last season, the 3 and 8 seeds were only 2.5 games apart. With that type of competitive field it really is difficult to project where the Lakers will seed. They will seed. Whoever says they won't make the playoffs is on one that's all I'm saying. There are 3 teams in the West that have a combination of skill, youth, experience, and team chemistry that I think will have a better regular season than the Lakers. Obviously, the Golden State Warriors will have a better seeding, probably the one seed after the Rockets replaced their two best three-and-D guys in Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute with Carmelo Anthony (yikes). Speaking of the Rockets, I still think with the combination of Harden-CP3-Capela in Dantoni's system equates to great regular season success. They won't be as good as last year and their opportunity to win a title may have already ended, but they will be the 2 seed most likely. Next, the Utah Jazz was everyone's surprise team last season, if you go back and check my predictions last year I knew the Jazz would be fine, but I didn't see Donovan Mitchell doing what he did as a rookie. I felt confident in the Jazz because of their defensive culture and home court advantage (Salt Lake City is high up in elevation too, ya know) and I believe I had them as the 6 or 7 seed. Now that we know what Mitchell is capable of and they drafted Grayson Allen who may be able to provide a scoring spark off the bench I think the Jazz are a scary team and will end up being the 3 seed. That leaves 2 teams in my opinion to battle for that 4 seed and those teams are the Oklahoma City Thunder and Los Angeles Lakers. Since this is a LeBron inspired article, let's dive into why I think it will be the Lakers that prevail.
That leaves everyone else so I beg the question, why not the Lakers? They have the best player in the league, they have youth, length, athleticism, and I think they will be a pretty viable defensive team and one of the best transition teams in the league powered by LeBron and Lonzo. People seem to be down on Lonzo but I fail to see why, we knew his jumper was wacky, but he can still be streaky. Anyways, Lonzo showed what his hype was all about with his playmaking. For a point guard he is already an elite rebounder, transition passer, and an above average defender. Add that he has more experience and got stronger I think Lonzo is going to be just fine, and he has Rondo to toughen him up and show him what it means to be an NBA point guard. I am a big Kuzma guy, I think he has some serious dawg in him. Yeah, I'm talking about big dawg with the W. He hit a bit of a rookie wall which was to be expected but he showed he can create his own shot whether it be a 3 or taking it to the paint, I really like the competitiveness of Kuz and I think him and LeBron will compliment each other quite well. It will be year 3 for Brandon Ingram and he has steadily improved week by week but I think Laker fans are a little anxious to see if he will pop this year and I think that he has a great chance to do so. He has the potential to be an elite defender, he can create for himself and he even played quite a bit of point-forward when Lonzo was out with injuries and showed he can be a real playmaker. I know LeBron and his team love the potential of Ingram and I am in that camp as well. As for the Rondo, Lance Stephenson, Javale McGee, Beasley signings? I don't see what the frenzy was all about. Sure, "The meme-team" is probably an adequate name, but considering all these guys will be bench role players except for maybe McGee who will start but won't average 30+ minutes a game. Rondo will be one of the best backup PG's in the league. We all saw what he did for the Pelicans and he will be a fine starter if Lonzo gets injured. Beasley won't even see the floor often but at least he can create his own shot and can be a rebounding machine. Lance is a fine 7th man who will bring toughness and intensity. Sure we have seen Lance go off the rails, but we have also seen him get under his opponents skins and he isn't afraid of anybody. I haven't even mentioned Josh Hart who just won Summer League MVP and has an overall sound game can actually shoot.
All in all, this team is made up of unique personalities and skillsets. It will be painted as a roller coaster season but ultimately I think they will compete for that 4 seed. We can talk later about how the Lakers can get another star next offseason but for now let's just enjoy the spectacle. LeBron James is a Los Angeles Laker.