Unfortunately... I was wrong; and apparently this move has somewhat proved to be unfortunate for the man himself, LeBron James.
Now there's negative feedback that comes with any free agency decision made by a professional athlete, regardless of their sport or landing spot. However how often does the biggest free agent in all of sports receive negative backlash from the fan base that lands him?
Especially when that organization is the Los Angeles Lakers!
If Lakers fans forgot, their team has remained among the leagues most irrelevant; with their beloved Lakers having not reached the postseason in 5 seasons. Also known as the Kobe Bryant era. In fact let's take a look back at how the Lakers most recent playoff run turned out...
Oh that's right! The 2012-13 Los Angeles Lakers were swept! As in losing 4 straight games to be bounced directly out of the playoff bracket. As for who went on to win not just the NBA Finals but Finals MVP, oh right.. it was LeBron James. In a series where James averaged over 25, 10, and 7.
The now absolutely delusional Laker fans have somehow developed a sense of entitlement. A nonsensical sense for that matter to where their team, tradition, and fan-base are too superior to welcome the greatest player in which this generation has been fortunate enough to see.
Now the 300+ words that you've read at this point come from the perspective of a die-hard, Boston Celtics fan. So there's room for justification not wanting to see the man who's absolutely tarnished my childhood time and time again; but we're talking about the Los Angeles Lakers. A team that won their most games in the past 5 seasons just last year. That win total was 35! As in 12 games under the .500 mark.
The soon-to-be basketball hall of famer single handily sky rocketed the Lakers odds to reach the NBA Finals next season. For Laker fans to now have the ability to gamble on their team making the Finals, is simply a blessing in itself. Especially when last season it wasn't logically possible to place a bet in their squad to just make the postseason.
Now since the obvious isn't apparent or existent in the minds of Laker fans, here's why they should clear the streets of LA every time LeBron walks.
1) LA-Bron Revives LA Tradition
The Los Angeles Lakers have an iconic and well known tradition of winning, having 16 NBA Titles hang among the Staples Center rafters. The Lakers ruled the 1950's and 80's along with the Boston Celtics, facing each other a total of twelve times in history. Lets be real, honest, and objective. Banner number 17 isn't coming anytime soon with that last season roster. A roster in fact that averaged 15.8 turnovers which was 2nd highest last season among all teams in the league.
It's pretty well known by now that without elite level talent, that's not possible. With super teams taking full control of the NBA, the Lakers cannot take for granted any star-level talent willing to throw on a Lakers jersey. The young core of Kyle Kuzma, Lonzo Ball, and Brandon Ingram aern't even enough to reach the playoffs, never-mind make a run.
That takes me to my next reason.
2) Lakers are too young!
In fact it's not by any means an exaggeration. The Los Angeles Lakers are 6th youngest team in basketball today and second youngest in the Western Conference aside from the Phoenix Suns. The average age for the Lakers after last seasons NBA Trade Deadline was 24.83 years old.
The last time the Lakers contained such a young roster that went on to win a title was back in the 1979-80 NBA season. A team which average age stood at 25.7 years of age. However the difference between this team and that crew 38 years ago was simple, legendary talent! The 1979-80 Lakers roster were led by Hall-of-Famers, Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
And what is LeBron James? Oh yeah.. a future Hall-of-Famer.
There's absolutely no way on Earth that the Lakers (prior to James' arrival) were set for any kind of success on the court, and for years to come. LeBron James could be just the start of a soon to be super team in LA; and in modern day basketball, it is impossible to win a championship without one.
3) LeBron's Success Vs. Warriors/ West
There's no secret that there is one team keeping every other of the 29 NBA organizations from raising a banner, and that's the over-stacked Golden State Warriors. There's also no secret to how phenomenal James plays in the biggest stage, even when it's against Golden State.
In fact let's take a deeper look into how LeBron plays against the Warriors.
In 27 career games against Golden State, LBJ averages 28.0 points, 8.1 rebounds, and 7.0 assists per game. He also shoots 50.1% from the field and 37.7% from three-point range.
It doesn't end there. LeBron James in fact is notably successful against all prime Western Conference teams that he will lead the Lakers against next season.
- Houston Rockets (27 games)- 25.3 points per game, 6.7 rebounds, 6.0 assists, 47% from field, 36% from three
- Oklahoma City Thunder (27 games)- 28.8 points per game, 6.6 rebounds, 7.1 assists, 51.1% from field, 34.6 from three
- Portland Trailblazers (27 games)- 27.9 points per game, 9.2 rebounds, 7.2 assists, 52.4% from field, 38.1% from three
- Utah Jazz (29 games)- 29.4 points per game, 8.3 rebounds, 6.9 assists, 51.9% from field, 33.6% from three
- San Antonio Spurs (27 games)- 26.5 points per game, 7.2 rebounds, 6.7 assists, 50.4% from field, 20.7% from three
- New Orleans Pelicans (31 games)- 26.2 points per game, 6.3 rebounds, 7.6 assists, 50.3% from field, 35.5% from three
Like I said earlier, LeBron himself instantly boosted the odds of a Lakers 2019 Finals appearance with his signing this off-season. However it's also known that James' can't do so himself.
It's been done in the past and will be done again in the future. We saw it in Miami when LeBron recruited Chris Bosh to establish their own big three. Then again in Cleveland when Kevin Love entertained the idea of joining the Boston Celtics back in 2014. LeBron came in and over-ruled all the Fenway visits and sightings of Love with Harvard students.
In fact Kawhi Leonard himself has taken it upon himself to put the Spurs in the toughest of potions. He's been linked to the Lakers all off-season long with his demand of a trade and refusal to play in San Antonio. However while it's not a sure thing that Kawhi is the next soon-to-be Laker, know for sure that James will do all he can to bring super-star level talent to play along his side for years to come.
Point blank! Unless fans are satisfied with settling for their home-town lovable losers, it's time to welcome the new king of LA!
You can hear my view of LeBron James welcoming or lack thereof by Laker fans and more in episode 2 of the Sideline Views Podcast. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=78LGypNMVbs&t=1s