After a busy start to the offseason, the Los Angeles Lakers‘ revamped roster is eyeing returning to NBA title contention. LeBron James will lead the charge in his 19th campaign toward capturing his fifth championship. As James prepares for next season, he received more motivation to prove the doubters wrong.
LeBron James’ impressive 2020-21 season
James and the Lakers entered last season with the opportunity to secure a second straight NBA title.
Although injuries and inconsistency from the supporting cast derailed the team’s championship hopes, it shouldn’t overlook the 36-year-old’s strong showing with another MVP-worthy year.
James finished averaging 25.0 points, 7.8 assists, and 7.7 rebounds while shooting 51.3% from the floor and 36.5% from 3-point range. Despite missing more than six weeks due to a high ankle sprain, it didn’t derail James from extending his NBA record to 17 straight campaigns averaging at least 25.0 points per contest.
Before the ankle injury, many believed he was the frontrunner to secure his fifth MVP award. However, the ailment forced him to miss an extended stretch, leading the Lakers to falter without their star players falling nearly out of the playoff picture.
As James heads toward preparing for his 19th season, he received another source of motivation to prove the doubters wrong.
LeBron James channels latest slight to fuel his fire and prove the doubters wrong
James hasn’t had to look far to find the external motivation to push him forward.
Once again, it’s proven to be the case as ESPN’s recent offseason survey of 10 NBA scouts and executives left him without a single vote as the best player in the league. Kevin Durant and Giannis Antetokounmpo evenly split the votes, leaving the future first-ballot Hall of Famer out of the picture entirely.
It didn’t take long for the 36-year-old to respond via Twitter airing his appreciation toward it adding more fuel to his internal fire to prove the doubters wrong.
“THANK YOU! As if I didn’t need more to fuel me! #WashedKing,” James wrote.
James experienced a lack of votes after the Lakers missed the playoffs in his first season in Los Angeles in 2019. The same ESPN survey featured 20 people passing on choosing him. Kawhi Leonard, who was fresh off leading the Toronto Raptors to an NBA title, received 12 votes, while Antetokoumpo garnered six and James Harden took the last two.
It’s no shade to either Durant or Antetokounmpo. Instead, it shows that James holds the firm belief that he still deserves consideration as one of the game’s best talents despite heading into his 19th season.
He’s coming off another highly productive campaign despite it being heavily impacted by a high ankle sprain. Before the injury, James was arguably leading the MVP conversation while guiding the Lakers to one of the league’s best records.
If anything, he will channel the lack of recognition into proving that he still has plenty left in the tank to perform at an elite level.
LeBron James ready to lead the Lakers to title contention
Granted, the slighting of James likely comes due to injuries, but it adds to what may be a special campaign in Los Angeles.
The Lakers’ busy offseason featured the front office acquiring star point guard Russell Westbrook. Meanwhile, the team added shooting and versatile defenders with several proven veterans, such as Carmelo Anthony, Dwight Howard, Trevor Ariza, Wayne Ellington, Kent Bazemore, and Kendrick Nunn.
The roster may hold questions about fit and age, but it’s created significant buzz around serious NBA title contention. Beyond that, it sets the table for a highly intriguing season ahead.