LeBron James and a supporting cast of young, promising talent have brought the notorious Los Angeles Lakers back into the spotlight. Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram and Kyle Kuzma all look to develop around James in an attempt to get back to the playoffs and contend with the Golden State Warriors.
“It appears the ‘Showtime’ Los Angeles Lakers are back, with the spotlight on those in purple and gold.” – Travis Fauchald ’20
Since Kobe Bryant led the Lakers to their last NBA championship in 2010, the team has struggled with disappointing playoff outcomes and, more recently, losing records. With a lack of veteran players and an aging Bryant, the Lakers endured five straight losing seasons.
The Lakers are a team known all around the world for their flashy players, big budgets and successes. They are one of the most successful teams in the history of the NBA – and of all sports for that matter. They boast 16 NBA championships, second behind the Boston Celtics, and have had 30 NBA Hall Of Famers contribute to their winning culture.
The Lakers front office and head coach Luke Walton have made it known that their expectation is for the team to start winning. After the huge acquisition of Lebron James, veteran free- agents like Lance Stephenson, Rajon Rondo, JaVale McGee and Michael Beasley signed with the team for an opportunity to play under LeBron and compete for a championship. It is no doubt that the Lakers will rely on these veteran players come playoff time.
It appears the “Showtime” Los Angeles Lakers are back, with the spotlight on those in purple and gold. But the start to the season has been a shock to most basketball fans. The Lakers started 0-2, losing close games to the Portland Trail Blazers and the reigning one seed Houston Rockets. The Lakers played both teams tough, but they couldn’t quite convert and capitalize in the fourth quarter.
James looks like his normal self, scoring a total of 50 points on 47.4 percent shooting through two games, nearly averaging a triple-double in the process. Rookie Josh Hart has also been playing well, scoring an average of 15.5 points a game in an average of 23 minutes. James looked like a younger version of himself, playing at a much faster pace than fans are used to seeing, running the floor on fast breaks and throwing down a handful of dunks.
One notable surprise is the play of veteran center JaVale McGee. He looks very comfortable with his new role, running the floor, catching alley-oops dunks and defending the rim. McGee will prove to be a very valuable asset as the team progresses through the season.
There was some controversy in the game against James Harden, Chris Paul and the Houston Rockets. In the Lakers home opener, with celebrities and cameramen surrounding the court, Brandon Ingram fouled Harden, leading to a scuffle. After some words were exchanged, Paul and Rondo threw punches at one another. The altercation resulted in the suspensions of Ingram, Paul and Rondo. The Lakers will have to rely on depth while some of their key players watch from the sidelines.
It should be interesting to see how the Lakers fare the rest of the season against a very deep Western Conference.