How LeBron, LA Lakers Can Claim a Top-4 Seed out West This Season

Just over 100 days ago, Klutch Sports issued a simple but significant press release announcing LeBron James’ agreement to join the Los Angeles Lakers on a four-year, $154 million deal.

On Thursday night, James will make his debut with the Lakers to start the 2018-19 season in Portland against the Trail Blazers.

Without James, the Lakers won 35 games last season to finish 11th overall in the Western Conference. Now, armed with the best player in the league, the Lakers will make a significant leap in the standings.

By the time the postseason begins, Los Angeles should have over 50 wins and home-court advantage in at least the first round of the playoffs.

Regardless of the competition, James gives the Lakers a tremendous advantage, and look for his teammates to rise to the challenge. The Lakers may need to add shooting or veteran size behind McGee at center, but James’ ability to impact a game will cover up some of his team’s blemishes.

How far the Lakers get in the playoffs is a different question, but that’s what the regular-season journey is for. The Lakers finally start theirs Thursday.