Tagged: LeBron James Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • LakerTom (Publisher) 8:18 AM on May 24, 2020 Permalink |
    Tags: , LeBron James, , Zion Williamson   

    Who’ll Take the Throne from LeBron? Is Zion Williamson the Crown Prince? 

     
    • LakerTom (Publisher) 8:55 AM on May 24, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Zion Williamson is the last of my six candidates to become the best player of the 2020’s decade. Probably the most celebrated NBA rookie since LeBron James was drafted 17 years ago, Zion has a similar combination of otherworld athleticism and brutal physicality. At 280 lbs, he’s like Shaq in a power forward’s body with the handle and stroke of a shooting guard. His freakish body not only promises a level of play few in league history have been able to reach but also legitimate concern over whether he can remain healthy considering his weight and style of play.

      As we’ve discussed when reviewing Giannis, Kawhi, KD, AD, and Luka, winning honors as the best player of the decade requires three things: consistent MVP performances, great health and durability, and a handful of championship rings. For a athletic marvel like Zion, the first certainly seems possible while the second and third may become his handicaps. Despite a great rookie season, injuries prevented him from legitimately being in consideration of ROY honors. And while David Griffin has done an admirable job surrounding Zion with more talent than most #1 draft picks enjoy, the truth is winning championships may be hard to do for a small market franchise like New Orleans Pelicans.

      One of the big surprises for Zion’s rookie season was has ability to shoot the ball. In college, he shot a mediocre 33.7% from deep and a poor 64.0% from the line, raising concern over whether he would be able to shoot well enough to become a generational superstar in the NBA. To everybody’s surprise, Zion shot an amazing 46.2% from deep. Unfortunately, his poor 64.5% shooting from the line probably indicates that his elite three-point shooting may be an outlier, which further muddies the waters as to how good Zion can eventually become.

      To prevail as the best player of the 2020’s decade, Zion will probably have to dominate the second half of the decade as most young superstars have difficulty winning in their first five years in the league. The challenge is especially tough for the Pelicans as they’re in the West and have to deal with the Lakers and Clippers and a host of well-stocked playoff teams. I hope Zion can remain healthy but it could be difficult for a high flying 280 pounder who plays recklessly above the rim. But if the young talent Griffin has assembled around him develops as hoped, he will have a shot to become a transcendent superstar and compete for best player on the planet for the next decade.

      • p ang

        p ang 1:43 AM on May 25, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        A wider yet shorter Blake Griffin. Oohs and aahs but that’s about it.

  • LakerTom (Publisher) 6:49 PM on May 22, 2020 Permalink |
    Tags: , LeBron James, , Luka Doncic   

    Who Will Take the Throne from LeBron? Can Luka Doncic Make the Big Leap? 

    This is the 5th in a series of six articles about the top NBA superstars who hope to dethrone King James as the best player on the planet over the next decade. Here are links to our four previous articles covering Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kawhi Leonard, Kevin Durant, and Anthony Davis.

     
    • LakerTom (Publisher) 7:04 PM on May 22, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      While the 21-year old Luka Doncic may lack the otherworldly athleticism of LeBron James, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kawhi Leonard, Kevin Durant, or Anthony Davis, the numbers he is putting up in just his second year in the league tell an entirely different story. There may not be another young superstar who has as savvy or well rounded offensive game. He has the size of Magic Johnson, the shooting touch of Steph Curry, and the passing ability of Jason Kidd. And while he has played pro ball since he was in his teens, he is just getting started.

      His biggest hurdles may be that he does not have a legitimate co-superstar, plays for the Dallas Mavericks, and has several more athletic and flashy superstar competitors in the Western Conference. And he’s white and not an explosive athlete. The big question is how high is his ceiling and can he rack up the championship rings you need to become the best player of the 2020’s decade?

      Ignoring Luka could be a big mistake as he could develop into the next Larry Bird and surprise everybody. He is that savvy and smart of a competitor with marvelous skills. To me, he is the closest thing I’ve seen to Larry Bird to come around. There is just something about his confidence and competitiveness that reminds me of Larry. I still think he’s a long shot to be player of the decade and could end up being stuck in Dallas for his entire career.

      Of all the superstars we’ve talked about possibly joining the Lakers someday, Luka tops my list. When LeBron retires, the Lakers will need a great point guard who can do what LeBron does for AD and the perfect candidate is Luka Doncic. Luke will be in his mid 20’s when he has his first chance to become a free agent. AD would be in his early 30’s. They would be a match made in heaven in my opinion. Kind of like a reincarnation of LeBron James as far as skills and smarts.

      • p ang

        p ang 8:42 PM on May 22, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Come to the Lakers, YEAH!!

        Throne, No. Even Bird couldn’t take throne from MJ or Bron.

    • Magicman (Editor)

      Magicman (Editor) 7:05 PM on May 23, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Luka is a Larry clone, for sure. He’s got LeBron and Larry and Magic’s facilitating game with a slice and dice outside shooting repertoire.

      Has some nice pieces around him. See where he goes.

      • LakerTom (Publisher) 7:36 PM on May 23, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        The big question is can Dallas surround Luka with another superstar or two so he can win the championships necessary to become the player of the decade for the 2020’s. I don’t think KP is going to be enough. They need to somehow grow or lure another superstar to go with Luka and KP. He needs to be surrounded with freakish athletes to win multiple titles.

        I think that’s the biggest hurdle in Luka becoming the player of the decade. He’s a sure HOFer with his savvy and talent and has a huge upside at only 21-years old. Is he near his peak because of a lack of elite athleticism? That’s the big question for me. He may be a 21-year old playing like a 25-year old. What will he be when he is 25-years old?

  • LakerTom (Publisher) 9:27 AM on May 21, 2020 Permalink |
    Tags: , , LeBron James,   

    Who Will Take the Throne from LeBron? Could Anthony Davis Be Next in Line? 

     
    • LakerTom (Publisher) 9:43 AM on May 21, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      This is the 4th in a series of six articles about the top NBA superstars who hope to dethrone King James as the best player on the planet over the next decade. Here are links to our three previous articles covering Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kawhi Leonard, and Kevin Durant.

      While I am obviously biased as a Lakers fan who’s just been overwhelmingly impressed watching AD dominate at both ends of the court playing alongside LeBron, I firmly believe Anthony is the favorite to win the mantle of best player of the 2020’s decade. My three critical criteria – age, injuries, and championships – all work in Davis’ favor.

      At just 27, Anthony should be in his prime through most of this decade. While suffering minor dings, he has also not suffered any major injuries. That gives him a huge advantage over the older and more injury prone Durant and Leonard. AD could easily play through his late 30’s just like LeBron because his game is one based on skill and talent as much as otherworldly athleticism and physicality.

      Finally, championships. This is where playing for the Lakers and with LeBron becomes a huge plus. There’s a good reason 6 of ESPN’s top ten NBA superstars were Lakers and why the franchise has won 16 championships. I believe AD could win 2 or 3 rings with LeBron in the first half of the decade and chances are the Lakers will pair him with another superstar or two for the second half of the decade.

      Bottom line, if the Lakers dominate this decade, Anthony Davis will be the favorite to win take the best player of the decade crown from LeBron James for the 2020’s. His only legitimate competition could be Giannis Antetokounmpo, but only if he ends up joining AD on the Lakers.

      • John M.

        John M. 11:20 AM on May 22, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        I agree he’s the most complete package, it’s just a matter of breaking from the pack and hoisting multiple trophies. And yeah, being a Laker doesn’t hurt his chances :)

    • Buba

      Buba 5:33 PM on May 21, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Your take on Anthony Davis has been very convincing and on point. AD is a once in a generation type of player who can dominate on both ends of the floor. Once Davis wins his first championship with the Lakers he will even be more hungry and eager for more. The taste of that first championship will fortify him mentally and prepare him for the rest of the next decade to carry the baton after LeBron retires. But I would also like to see him add more muscles to deal with the constant banging against opposing forwards or centers. He certainly has the edge over the rest of the contenders.

  • LakerTom (Publisher) 6:08 PM on May 19, 2020 Permalink |
    Tags: , Kevin Durant, LeBron James,   

    Who Will Take the Throne from LeBron? Can Kevin Durant Return as the King? 

     
    • LakerTom (Publisher) 6:19 PM on May 19, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Like we discussed, age, injury, and championships are the key to winning honors as the best player for the next decade. For KD, that means two strikes due to age and injury, which is amazing considering just a year ago there was talk he had surpassed LeBron to become the best player on the planet.

      Becoming the best player of the 2020’s decade, however, is a much more challenging accomplishment and I think KD probably has the least chance of the the three candidates we have discussed with Giannis still the favorite of the three because of age and lack of injuries while Kawhi and KD both are long shots specifically because of their age and injury history despite each having won 2 rings.

      Thus, my rank of the three superstars so far is:

      1. Giannis
      2. Kawhi
      3. KD

      What’s your take so far as the superstar who will win best player of the 2020’s?

      • John M.

        John M. 4:17 PM on May 20, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Durant is/was a great player, depending on his recovery. However, when he was with GS, if he was the best player on the team, it wasn’t by much. To replace LeBron, there has to be a clear margin at the top. To be just the reigning MVP isn’t going to cut it.

        • LakerTom (Publisher) 4:25 PM on May 20, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          I agree, John. Of the six candidates to be best player of this new decade, KD is probably one of the longer shots due to age and injury. Who wins the next few NBA championships will go a long way toward boosting somebody’s chances. If Bucks win, Giannis gets a huge boost. If Lakers win, AD gets a boost. Same with Kawhi and Clippers. Youngins like Luka and Zion will have to count on dominating second half of the decade to get into the picture. If Giannis goes to Lakers, he would likely become the favorite and likely hurt AD’s chances. Long way to the end of the decade.

        • Buba

          Buba 6:09 PM on May 20, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          I completely agree with John. “To replace LeBron, there has to be a clear margin at the top. To be just the reigning MVP isn’t going to cut it.” Actually, I have not yet seen any player in this generation that has planted a seed that could become a transcendent player like MJ, Kobe, and LeBron. That player will eventually arrive but not what we have right now.

        • p ang

          p ang 6:25 PM on May 20, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          Agree.

      • LakerTom (Publisher) 7:53 PM on May 20, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        One thing you have to remember is it took Kobe 5 years, Shaq, and Phil Jackson before he won a championship. Pretty much the same for MJ. Same for LeBron. As talented as they all were, they were really not yet superstars. They had to prove themselves by elevating their games to championship caliber.

        There are three players whom I think have the potential to grow into transcendent players. All they need is the opportunity, the right co-stars, and the right team situation and suddenly they could emerge as a generational player. It takes time and the right situation to challenge them to grow into greatness.

        They’re the three superstars I haven’t yet written about: Anthony Davis, Luka Doncic, and Zion Williamson. I believe one of them will be the superstar of the next decade. They have the benefits of being the right age and all possess incredible talent. All except for Zion have been healthy.

        My pick is AD because I think he will be able to win 2 or 3 rings with LeBron, which will give him the leg up on the two younger superstars Luka and Zion.The key for AD is the Lakers. There’s a reason why 6 of the best 10 players in ESPN’s top 100 are Lakers. That will be what carries AD to be the king of the NBA in the 2020’s.

        • p ang

          p ang 8:13 PM on May 20, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          AD is a career 24ppg 10rebs. He’s already there. Its his time in NO that held him back. Now in LA the recognition is coming.

          Luka’s ceiling is Jason Kidd with a 3pt shot. Doubt if he’ll be the man.

          Zion might just go the way of Embid. Great but injury prone.

          If anybody can now its James Harden if he ever gets with a good coach (Brooks, MDA, eww). Imagine him with the Lakers, Bucks, Raptors or Clippers. Teams with good coaches. Harden is actually a good defender when he wants to.

          • Buba

            Buba 10:34 PM on May 20, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

            I do find Harden to be intriguing yet plausible if he had a good coach. But I am worried that he is in the middle of his prime and may run out of time when the baton is handed out to him. The dude can really flat out ball.

            • LakerTom (Publisher) 9:21 AM on May 21, 2020 Permalink

              Harden is certainly a transcendent player who has also proven to be very durable. His age and playoff performances work against him as well as questions about his style of play. He’s clearly a better defender than he gets credit for.

              I have James in that second tier of players who will be HOFers for sure who could even be the pick for player of the year but not likely to ever be a unanimous choice as player of the decade. That’s just too high a standard for him imo.

              As for having a good coach, I kind of disagree with that point. In fact, I think the coaches Harden has had have been one of the reasons he has likely grown as much as a player and achieved as much as he has. With better coaches, he might not have had the opportunity to shine as much as he has. Just my opinion.

        • Buba

          Buba 10:24 PM on May 20, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          You are definitely right about AD. He has the tools and is definitely a rare breed. Let’s just hope for durability and the endurance that goes with being a great talent. He has the clear edge among the nominees.

  • LakerTom (Publisher) 3:17 PM on May 17, 2020 Permalink |
    Tags: Kawhi Leonard, LeBron James,   

    Who Will Take the Throne from LeBron? Can Kawhi Leonard Rule Next Decade? 

     
    • LakerTom (Publisher) 3:19 PM on May 17, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      These are the first two in a series of six articles about the top NBA superstars who hope to dethrone King James as the best player on the planet over the next decade. Over the next week, I will also post articles featuring Kawhi Leonard, Kevin Durant, Anthony Davis, Luka Doncic, and Zion Williamson, whom I consider the other five legitimate candidates to wear the crown as king of the 2020’s like LeBron James did for the 2010’s.

      Predicting which professional basketball superstar is going to take over the throne from LeBron and become the king of the next decade is not an easy task because the winner will not only need to be the best player in the league but will also have to win multiple MVP awards for the regular season and Finals as well as multiple NBA championships. Thus, co-stars and supporting cast with whom each superstar plays are likely to have a huge impact on how their careers progress and their chances evolve. In a way, predicting the winner must involve predicting his team’s future success.

      The challenge is made even more difficult because a decade is a long time and it’s logical to presume the winner will be a player who dominates the second half of the decade rather than the first half. Since the six candidates to take the crown from LeBron range in age from 21 to 31-years in age, the younger candidates who are still developing and have a lot more to prove and are at a disadvantage now could have an edge down the road. Long shots now, younger candidates like Luka and Zion might have a better shot at winning than older candidates like Kawhi or KD.

      What I’ve tried to do with each article is evaluate the candidate’s chances based on the above criteria. I’ve kept the articles brief in the hopes everybody will read them and hope to create some good discussion about each candidate’s advantages and disadvantages. Hope you will read, enjoy, and comment. Thanks.

    • p ang

      p ang 11:12 PM on May 17, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      KD?

    • p ang

      p ang 11:13 PM on May 17, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      AD?

    • therealhtj

      therealhtj 3:31 PM on May 18, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Unless Kawhi’s ongoing injury drama is just made up bs to keep his opponents off balance, it won’t be him.

      • LakerTom (Publisher) 3:59 PM on May 18, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Leonard and Durant would have to stay healthy and win more championships but could be too old to shine the second half of the decade. But if either wins next couple of years, which is possible, they could build a big lead.

        • John M.

          John M. 4:43 PM on May 18, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          Could be none of the above, although the youngins have the best chance. The rest are too old and while they are all excellent players, they’re not torch bearers like MJ, Kobe, and LeBron.

          • LakerTom (Publisher) 7:39 PM on May 18, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

            You could be right, John. If you go by hype, Zion should be the favorite because he created the most LeBron like hype coming into the league and he certainly has gotten off to a fast start. He’ll need to do by winning the second half of the decade as LeBron, MJ, and Kobe all struggled during their early years and took at least five seasons to really start winning big. Bottom line, a decade is a long time to dominate.

            If you set aside the challenge of dominating a decade and try to answer your question of which could be a torch bearer like MJ, Kobe, or LeBron, your point becomes stronger because none of the six candidates look like sure shots to develop into transcendent or generational players like those three. I mean consider you’re looking at the #1, #2, and #9 best players in the history of the NBA according to ESPN. That’s a damn high bar to reach. While I could see moments in time when maybe Kawhi or KD were better than LeBron is now at 35, I don’t see either of them breaking the top ten of all time.

            But the debate is the best player of the next decade so I do think one of these six is more likely than not to win that honor, although it might not be unanimously or by a landslide like it was for LeBron in 2010’s, Kobe in the 2000’s, MJ in the 1990’s, or Magic in the 1980’s. Each of those players were without question the best player of their decades and had the championships to prove it. That’s a challenge that depends on age, injury, and rings.

        • therealhtj

          therealhtj 5:50 PM on May 18, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          Giannis is my only maybe here. AD is a great 1a, but his body and game just don’t lend itself to being that guy. He needs someone of equal or greater talent to get to a ring.

          I’ll go out on a limb and say KD doesn’t come back to MVP form. Luka/Zion, too soon to tell. Kawhi, you’ve heard my thoughts on.

          • LakerTom (Publisher) 7:40 PM on May 18, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

            I agree, Stan. Luke and Zion would have to come on strong the second half of the decade to win it. It would also mean the Mavs and Pelicans would have to become dominant teams, which could be a long shot. They would be finishing the decade in their primes though.

            Injury history, age, and championships and are going to be major factors in determining the king of this decade.

            1. Giannis is 25, No Injuries, 0 Championships
            2. Kawhi is 28, Major Injuries, 2 Championships
            3. Durant is 31, Major Injuries, 2 Championships
            4. Davis is 27, No Injuries, 0 Championships
            5. Luka is 21, No Injuries, 0 Championships
            6. Zion is 19, Major Injuries, 0 Championships

            Favorites could Giannis and AD because of health, age, and championships. AD could end up being the favorite if he can win 2 or 3 with LeBron because he’s on the Lakers. They are the right age to star all ten years of the decade.

            • p ang

              p ang 8:58 PM on May 18, 2020 Permalink

              Zion had injuries plus his weight is an issue.

            • LakerTom (Publisher) 9:47 PM on May 18, 2020 Permalink

              Good point, Peter. I have corrected the above.

  • LakerTom (Publisher) 4:19 PM on May 15, 2020 Permalink |
    Tags: , , LeBron James,   

    Who Will Take the Throne from LeBron? Is Giannis Antetokounmpo New King? 

     
    • LakerTom (Publisher) 9:00 AM on May 16, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      This is the 1st in a series of six articles about the top NBA superstars who hope to dethrone King James as the best player on the planet over the next decade. Over the next week, I will also post articles featuring Kawhi Leonard, Kevin Durant, Anthony Davis, Luka Doncic, and Zion Williamson, whom I consider the other five legitimate candidates to wear the crown as king of the 2020’s like LeBron James did for the 2010’s.

      Predicting which professional basketball superstar is going to take over the throne from LeBron and become the king of the next decade is not an easy task because the winner will not only need to be the best player in the league but will also have to win multiple MVP awards for the regular season and Finals as well as multiple NBA championships. Thus, co-stars and supporting cast with whom each superstar plays are likely to have a huge impact on how their careers progress and their chances evolve. In a way, predicting the winner must involve predicting his team’s future success.

      The challenge is made even more difficult because a decade is a long time and it’s logical to presume the winner will be a player who dominates the second half of the decade rather than the first half. Since the six candidates to take the crown from LeBron range in age from 21 to 31-years in age, the younger candidates who are still developing and have a lot more to prove and are at a disadvantage now could have an edge down the road. Long shots now, younger candidates like Luka and Zion might have a better shot at winning than older candidates like Kawhi or KD.

      What I’ve tried to do with each article is evaluate the candidate’s chances based on the above criteria. I’ve kept the articles brief in the hopes everybody will read them and hope to create some good discussion about each candidate’s advantages and disadvantages. Hope you will read, enjoy, and comment. Thanks.

  • LakerTom (Publisher) 7:14 PM on May 7, 2020 Permalink
    Tags: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, , LeBron James, , Magic Johnson   

    Which Laker Superstar in Their Prime Would You Select to Start a Franchise? 

     
    • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

      Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 8:41 AM on May 8, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      What era are we playing in? In all but the most recent a dominant center is a key weapon.

      Also, it’s a little odd for me to put James in with the all time Laker greats and not see Shaq there.

      Probably in-his-prime Magic, though.

      • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

        Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 8:44 AM on May 8, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Kobe right behind him if it’s the modern NBA. Hard to not choose Cap, tho…

      • LakerTom (Publisher) 9:20 AM on May 8, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        From the article:

        “The rules are simple. We’re talking about today’s modern NBA game where the three ball dominates, the game has become positionless, and science has given us 21-year old clones of these four players to start new teams. You’re to assume there will be elite players available with modern skill sets at all five positions with which to build out your roster and bench but none with the dominant generational superstar talent of these four players.”

        • John M.

          John M. 9:24 AM on May 8, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          Magic. He was positionless well before it became popular.

          • LakerTom (Publisher) 11:53 AM on May 8, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

            I think you couldn’t go wrong with LeBron or Magic. I would even take one of them over Michael Jordan. It’s what they do to make their teammates so much better players that makes them more important to the team imo.

            • John M.

              John M. 1:35 PM on May 8, 2020 Permalink

              Agreed. But as great as LeBron is, he has some ground to cover before he can be in the Laker conversation.

            • LakerTom (Publisher) 2:49 PM on May 8, 2020 Permalink

              True but time with Lakers was not a criteria for the article. If it was, then Magic would win hands down even though Kobe had the most productive all Lakers career since his 20 seasons were in purple and gold whereas Kareem had several early years with the Bucks.

            • John M.

              John M. 3:36 PM on May 8, 2020 Permalink

              Main criterion is bling. Length of stay would be second. But for me, it’s gotta be Magic because of his winning his first ring subbing for Kareem, and there would have been no Showtime without him.

    • LakerTom (Publisher) 6:16 PM on May 8, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Amazingly close competition. 13 votes. 4 for LeBron, 3 for Magic, 3 for Kobe, 3 for Kareem.

  • LakerTom (Publisher) 2:43 PM on April 26, 2020 Permalink
    Tags: , , LeBron James,   

    How LeBron James’ Last Dance Could Deliver a Los Angeles Lakers Dynasty! 


    There’s a chance LeBron James may choreograph an entirely different kind of last dance than the high scoring egos of Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan created, one that could set the stage for another Los Angeles Lakers dynasty.

    Unlike Bryant and Jordan, whose last dances were focused on the individual accomplishments of their personal careers as shoot first superstars, the pass first James may take an entirely different approach to the end of his career. Instead of demanding a max contract like Kobe and MJ did at the end, LeBron might be willing to accept less than the max salary to create cap space for the Lakers to sign a third superstar like Giannis Antetokounmpo.

    That’s a move that not only opens the door for the Lakers to create a dynasty that would last beyond LeBron’s career but also give James opportunities to extend his personal career and honor his legacy with more championships. It’s also a move that might appeal to a selfless superstar like James who’s never been as burdened with taking and making the last shot as Bryant and Jordan nor measured his greatness by points scored or dollars earned.

    A close scrutiny of the Los Angeles Lakers’ salary cap machinations clearly shows they believe this is a possibility as there is no way they could sign Antetokounmpo to a max contract without James agreeing to take less. Whether it’s Giannis or another max player, the Lakers know they need to find another superstar to pair with Anthony Davis and ultimately replace LeBron James to maintain the Lakers as an elite championship contender.

    Watching LeBron embrace his role as a member of the Lakers and assume the leadership mantle from Kobe Bryant, I’m confident LeBron already has a different kind of last dance in mind as his Lakers’ career comes to a close.

     
    • LakerTom (Publisher) 3:09 PM on April 26, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      It’s going to be interesting seeing what the Lakers due over the next two years. There’s a good chance Giannis is not going to sign a supermax contract with the Bucks this summer unless the season resumes and Milwaukee can at least make the Finals. If the season is cancelled or the Bucks don’t win the East, then I think Antetokounmpo will delay any decision until he becomes a free agent. That would put the Bucks in a tough situation. Do they try to trade Giannis to make sure they don’t lose him for nothing or rely on hopes of winning next season or a possible sign-and-trade deal summer of 2021?

      There are also other options out there for the Lakers that could be even a better fit positionally alongside LeBron and Anthony Davis than Giannis. I think the Lakers even look to pull off a blockbuster trade this summer for an elite backcourt player like Zach LaVine, Jrue Holiday, or Eric Bledsoe in order to bolster than odds of winning next year as well as having a potential sign-and-trade asset for summer of 2021. As LeBron gets closer to the end of his career, there will be multiple opportunities for the Lakers to find a replacement for him and new co-star for AD. If it doesn’t happen summer of 2021, AD will just get better and LeBron could still play at an elite level for a couple more years to give the Lakers time to find his replacement.

      • DJ2KB24

        DJ2KB24 6:24 PM on April 26, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Wife took: Russell, Bird, Kobe, Pistol and Cousy. Said beat them …hole. Lol, I made up the last word, she’d never say that, Lol!

        • LakerTom (Publisher) 6:59 PM on April 26, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          LOL. No disrespect to Mrs. DJ but I could put together a dozen lineups that could eat that team. Much as I love Pete, Kobe, Russ, and Bird, she’s showing her age picking Cousy but don’t tell her that. :-)

          • DJ2KB24

            DJ2KB24 2:50 PM on April 27, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

            Ha, ha, ha!

            • DJ2KB24

              DJ2KB24 2:51 PM on April 27, 2020 Permalink

              PS-I did tell her she had to put a team without Mychal Thompson’s team.

    • LakerTom (Publisher) 6:56 PM on April 26, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Couple of major issues for Lakers to have to decide.

      First, do they limit any players they sign or trade for this coming offseason to guys with just a year on their contracts to keep as much of their cap space open for the following offseason when Giannis could be available? Doing that would surely limit the guys they could go after. There’s also the argument you can always move a quality player on a favorable contract and almost every major free agency signing from last summer ended up becoming a sign-and-trade deal. Since the clock is ticking with LeBron and AD, I would look to use Kuzma, the first round pick, and the $20 million in expiring contracts to get the closest thing to a third superstar we can find regardless of contract length.

      Second, the Lakers need to decide who would be the best fit to play with James and Davis, which by definition means deciding how much longer LeBron is going to want and be able to play at an elite level. In other words, are we looking for a third superstar to go with LeBron and AD or are we looking for a second superstar to go with Anthony Davis. The answers to those two questions are not necessarily the same. If LeBron is going to play for three or four more years, then an elite point guard like Fred VanVleet or combo guard like Zach LaVine might be a better fit than Giannis Antetokounmpo. If we’re talking about a player to replace LeBron and play with AD, then Giannis for sure.

      We paid a price for chasing Kawhi Leonard and might have been better off had we pursued Malcolm Brogdon. I would hate to miss a chance at Fred VanVleet, Jrue Holiday, or Zach LaVine and then failing to sign Giannis. Even Dennis Schroeder or Spencer Dinwiddie might be better targets if LeBron looks like he’s going to be elite for three or four more years.

      Of course, much will depend on whether we get a chance and can win a championship this year. Winning it all would position us perfectly heading into the next two seasons.

    • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

      Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 8:28 AM on April 28, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I tend to follow the notion that there’s nothing in any superstars mentality or makeup that ever says “paycut”. The sheer volume of time and energy they dedicate in the hours between games and in the off-season to prepare for the grind of the NBA alone is reason enough to pursue a high level of compensation. Coupled with the fact that the number of years that an elite player has to earn elite dollars is a fairly small window. Finally, legacy is nice but equally (if not more) motivating is setting up your family for success. LeBron’s legcy is well-secure and intact. He’s won banners for multiple teams, won Cleveland’s first ever, and has left a statistical stamp on the game rivaled by few, ever.

      It’s certainly possible, but to me feels unlikely. But you never know, he could go a more pragmatic route.

      I think it moreliekly Giannis signs a small (1 year, maybe 2nd year with a player option) and try to take Milwaukee all the way. He’s often gone out of his way to go on record as being very supportive of the front office and the way they handle things. Not getting a pure shot to win it all this year muddies the waters for everyone. Hard for organizations to know what worth they have on hand without seeing how the season finished. Even if we come back, this isn’t what normal looks like.

      Lastly, the NBA salary cap for the next season or two (likely longer) is going to be all kinds of jacked up. The first order of business for the entire Association will be to get your finances in order. Even if the games resume it doesn’t mean the gate revenue, merchandise sales and other BRI areas of generating income are going to return to anything close to what they were. Adding a 3rd superstar might simply be outside the realm of possibility. We’ll have to see how the NBA reacts to this massive loss of income and how affects the salary cap before I start looking that far ahead.

      • LakerTom (Publisher) 10:58 AM on April 28, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        History definitely agrees with you, Jamie. Odds that any superstar would accept less than the max is certainly very high, especially with all the numbers likely to go down considerably over the next two years. Of course, the one exception to this rule was LeBron, Wade, and Bosh agreed to take less when they formed their Big Three in Miami. Then, it’s alway easy for fans to spend other people’s money when building superteams. So yes, I agree, odds are against it happening. But in this world were facing, you never know. A lot could change between now and when Giannis could become a free agent.

        Let’s speculate a little about the rest of this season. What if the league resumes the season and the Lakers romp through the West, take down the Clippers in 5 games in conference finals, and then the Celtics in the NBA Finals in 6 games. A disappointed Giannis and Milwaukee Bucks fail to make the Finals once again and Giannis declines to sign a supermax extension, saying he will wait until the end of next season to make a decision whether to stay with Bucks or go somewhere else in free agency. All of this is not really a big stretch.

        Then let’s say this offseason the champion Los Angeles Lakers resign Anthony Davis to a 2-year max deal for 30% of the cap and sign LeBron James to 3-year extension for just 30% of the cap rather than the 35% he would be eligible, which would then open up space to sign Giannis Antetokounmpo or a third superstar to a 30% max deal the following summer.

        Suddenly, the Lakers would create an obvious pathway for Giannis to join the purple and gold. LeBron would be sacrificing some money but also opening the door for the opportunity to win multiple additional championships playing alongside Davis and Antetokounmpo. I think that would be a move LeBron James might actually embrace. If not Giannis, there are also several other superstars who would be free agents summer of 2021, including Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. This is, of course, just speculation but if the Lakers take down the Clippers and Bucks on their way to the championship, I think the odds might suddenly be very different.

        And talk about what a bold strategic move it would be by LeBron and the Lakers. It could ensure the greatest Lakers’ dynasty in the history of the NBA.

        • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

          Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 11:35 AM on April 28, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          We can speculate all we want. The cap is going to determine a lot of this discussion and that is in a ridiculous state of flux right now. LBJ already took a less than max deal once, makes it even less likely he’d do so again. That wasn’t just to form a super-team but also to get the chance to play with 2 close friends. A lot of outside factors went into that one. I’m not saying it’s impossible but I am saying it’s highly unlikely.

          The first thing we can all hope for is some form of resumption of the NBA season, no matter how odd, to bring in some revenue, finish whatever kind of season/playoffs they cobble together and move onto planning how next season will work with such a short summer break.

          Giannis coming to LA is not outside the realm of possibility but there are a ton of things that will happen before that. Just as easy to speculate that the Bucks win it all and he stays. Let’s wait and see how this thing starts back up, if it starts back up at all.

  • LakerTom (Publisher) 10:54 AM on April 25, 2020 Permalink
    Tags: Frank Vogel, , LeBron James, , Rob Pelinka   

    How a Tried & True Kobe Bryant Stan Became a Die-Hard LeBron James Fan! 


    There was a time, as a devout Kobe Bryant stan, I was guilty of downplaying how great a basketball player LeBron James was and taking great pleasure in the harsh criticism he received for his ‘Decision’ to join the Miami Heat.

    Championing Kobe and downplaying LeBron quickly became my mantra as James assumed the mantle as the league’s ‘new’ greatest player and took over from Jordan as Bryant’s primary competitor and major protagonist. Supporting Kobe over LeBron became a Herculean task over Bryant’s last six years as the Lakers failed to make the NBA Finals or win a championship while LeBron participated in six Finals and won three championships.

    Then Kobe retired and rumors started the Lakers wanted to sign LeBron as a free agent, a move I quickly and vociferously opposed as a desperate gambit that would surely compromise the team’s independence and future success. For me, signing LeBron James was tantamount to the Lakers capitulating and becoming a west coast version of the Cleveland Cavaliers, handicapped by his 1-year contracts and handpicked teammates’ costly long term deals.

    When Magic Johnson signed LeBron to a four-year contract, I was skeptical and still suspicious about how much control the Lakers would have to yield to James, fearing he would become the team’s defacto GM and head coach. The media spin that LeBron had joined the Lakers because of his long-term desire to move his family and business to Los Angeles rather than any short-term hunger to win another NBA championship only increased my doubts.

    Despite a promising start, LeBron’s first season with the Lakers only added to my concerns when he went down to a groin injury on Christmas day against the Warriors and the team finished the season with a 35–47 record. Magic’s failed attempt to trade for Anthony Davis ended up undermining any chance the Lakers had at developing team chemistry and eventually resulted in Johnson’s resignation and head coach Luke Walton’s firing.

    But those events created the opportunity for Rob Pelinka to take control of the Lakers, get everybody in the organization on the same page, complete the trade for AD, and install Frank Vogel as the team’s new head coach. Then came two monumental events that finally convinced me LeBron bled purple and gold and deserved to wear a Lakers jersey and converted me from a tried and true Kobe Bryant stan into a die-hard LeBron James fan.

    The first of course was LeBron James passing Kobe Bryant for third place in the NBA’s all-time scoring list, an event that resulted in a mutual love fest of respect and praise between the former and the new faces of the franchise. That LeBron at thirty-five years old was still playing at such an elite level, embracing playing for the Lakers, and so respectfully assuming the mantle as the franchise’s new leader simply melted away any lingering negativity.

    The second event was obviously how LeBron James stepped up to take the Lakers’ torch from Kobe in the aftermath of the devastating helicopter crash the very next day that killed Bryant, his daughter Gigi, and seven others. Kobe had congratulated LeBron the night before about passing him and LeBron left no doubt he loved Kobe as a big brother and was committed to carrying on Mamba’s quest for Lakers’ championships and greatness.

    The death of Kobe Bryant and the suspension of what was looking like a possible Lakers’ championship season due to the coronavirus pandemic have been a tough double whammy to the Lakers and their millions of fans. On the bright side, LeBron James is still a viable candidate for best player and the Lakers for best team in the league and hope still abounds that the season will be resumed and the Lakers can win the championship.

    While Kobe’s death broke our hearts, his passing of the torch to LeBron has erased any conflict between respecting and appreciating the greatness of the Mamba while still embracing King James as the new face of the Lakers.

     
    • DJ2KB24

      DJ2KB24 11:48 AM on April 25, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Nice stuff! I was always a LBJ “Let’s get him” category, but did think he took the wrong approach on several things, but he was young. He has proven to be quite the man ever since.

      • LakerTom (Publisher) 12:31 PM on April 25, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        The thing about LeBron that’s impressive is he might even be a better man than he is a basketball player. That’s one thing that made hating him impossible as he grew up. I find myself now being a LeBron James stan whenever others start to claim that Giannis is a better player.

    • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

      Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 9:57 PM on April 25, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      While I was definitely in the ‘hating on LBJ’ when Kobe was playing. But I was all-in on him coming in free agency.

    • Magic2Worthy

      Magic2Worthy 10:09 AM on April 26, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I was indifferent about LBJ until the Decision…. I thought that was messed up and cruel to Cav’s fans. Did not like LBJ until the 2016 finals where he had one of the greatest efforts I’ve ever seen, my admiration grew…. Now that he’s a Laker, I have seen his genius. Gotta appreciate that!!!

c
compose new post
j
next post/next comment
k
previous post/previous comment
r
reply
e
edit
o
show/hide comments
t
go to top
l
go to login
h
show/hide help
shift + esc
cancel