LeBron James is ready to lead the charge to bring the Los Angeles Lakers an 18th NBA title. It’s prompted Hall of Famer Magic Johnson to voice a stern warning to the rest of the NBA on James‘ behalf as he enters his 19th season.
LeBron James is ready to put disappointing campaign behind him
After a busy offseason, the Lakers’ revamped roster is embracing the high expectations.
James heads that charge as he’s hoping to put a disappointing 18th campaign behind him to return the franchise to NBA title contention. The short offseason led to injuries that derailed Los Angeles’ chances of vying for a second straight championship.
The 36-year-old put forth another highly productive campaign, extending his NBA record to 17 straight seasons averaging at least 25.0 points per game. However, he missed six weeks due to a high ankle sprain that heavily impacted the Lakers.
With that behind the franchise, a former Lakers all-time great delivered a firm warning to the rest of the league on the star forward’s behalf.
Magic Johnson delivers a stern warning to the rest of the NBA on LeBron James’ behalf
Since the offseason, the Lakers have been swarmed by plenty of championship buzz.
Much of that lies on James’ shoulders as he enters his 19th season with the sole mission of guiding the franchise toward another NBA title. After the team’s Media Day event on Tuesday, Hall of Famer Magic Johnson took to Twitter to air a stern warning to the rest of the league regarding the Lakers star forward.
“LeBron James is in excellent physical condition, he is focused, and he is driven. His only goal this season is to win his 5th NBA Championship and the Lakers’ 18th Championship. Everybody in the NBA should be worried because LeBron is on a mission!!,” Johnson tweeted.
James is coming off a frustrating campaign that featured him missing six weeks due to his ankle injury. He returned, but he wasn’t physically the same player he was before the injury. The 36-year-old spent the offseason working on his health by first allowing his ankle to heal fully, then slimming his body for his 19th year.
James holds plenty of internal motivation to show he’s still among the game’s best talents, while nothing is pulling him stronger than leading the Lakers to a championship. The front office constructed a roster around him and Davis to return to title contention.
The pieces are laid out for the franchise to put forth a special 2021-22 campaign.
Lakers’ biggest hurdle will be fit not age
Since the front office revamped the roster, much of the concern has been toward the collective age.
Los Angeles will possess the league’s oldest team, but the real determining factor lies with the fit of the roster. The Lakers are returning several familiar faces with James, Davis, Dwight Howard, Rajon Rondo, and Talen Horton-Tucker. Outside of that, the rest of the roster is a new mixture of talent.
The biggest transition will come with finding a solid balance between James and Russell Westbrook, as the two have historically been most effective with the ball in their hands. Despite the underlying concern, James voiced that his previous experience playing alongside Dwyane Wade should help him find balance.
“I have heard it before,” James said to Spectrum SportsNet. “When I decided to go to Miami, the first thing they said was ‘LeBron and D-Wade don’t mix. There is no way they can play together. They are too ball-dominant. They can’t shoot the ball from the perimeter. It’s not going to work. They are too similar of players.’
“We know what happened with that. You make it work. You figure it out.”
Head coach Frank Vogel will also need to figure out the best rotations and lineups to work around their newly formed Big Three. Los Angeles features many moving parts, but James’ confidence should provide a beacon of promise toward what may lie ahead.