LeBron James has been to the NBA Finals for the last eight years where he won three NBA championship titles in his combined stints with the Miami Heat and the Cleveland Cavaliers. However, despite his numerous achievements, most people doubt James can bring the Lakers back to title contention in the upcoming 2018-19 NBA season.
It is easy to understand why people don’t see the Lakers as a legitimate title contender. Unlike in Miami and Cleveland where he played alongside other NBA superstars like Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Love, LeBron James is currently surrounded by young players and veterans whose fit with him inside the court remains a big question mark. However, former Lakers forward Larry Nance Jr. has strong belief that James and the Lakers can prove their doubters wrong and make it to the NBA Finals.
Larry Nance Jr. is aware that James will be needing to go through powerhouse teams like the Golden State Warriors, Houston Rockets, and Oklahoma City Thunder in order to fully dominate the deep Western Conference. However, in his one year of playing alongside the best basketball player on the planet, Nance Jr. realized that anything is possible with James.
“They could [get to the Finals],” Nance Jr. told Express Sport. “With LeBron, anything is possible. I think it’ll be a very tough road because arguably three of the best four teams are out west. You’re going to have to go through Golden State, Houston, Oklahoma City – there’s some really good teams out there. Their work is certainly cut out.”
Larry Nance Jr. was one of the players the Cleveland Cavaliers acquired from the Lakers last February NBA trade deadline. Despite mostly coming off the bench, Nance Jr. played a significant role for the Cavaliers last season.
Over his first appearance in the NBA Playoffs, Nance Jr. has personally witnessed James’ greatness. Though most of the Cavaliers’ newest acquisitions failed to live up to expectations, James has found a way to bring the team back to the NBA Finals.
Despite being swept by the Warriors, LeBron James posted monster postseason statistics, averaging 34.0 points, 9.1 rebounds, 9.0 assists, 1.4 steals, and 1.0 block on 53.9 percent shooting from the field and 34.2 percent from beyond the arc.
The Lakers may only have James as their lone superstar, but they believe that the four players – JaVale McGee, Lance Stephenson, Rajon Rondo, and Michael Beasley – they acquired in the recent free agency can help them become more competitive in the upcoming 2018-19 NBA season. Lakers General Manager Rob Pelinka said that it is a trap to try beating the Warriors in their own game. Their newest acquisitions are expected to ease the load on James’ shoulders in terms of playmaking and boost the team’s performance on the defensive ends of the floor.
The arrival of LeBron James to Los Angeles is also expected to have a positive effect with the Lakers’ young core of Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart, Kyle Kuzma, and Brandon Ingram. In the past months, there are speculations that the Lakers are planning to create their own version of the Warriors’ “Death Lineup” with James, Kuzma, Ingram, Hart, and Ball. In the upcoming training camp, Lakers Head Coach Luke Walton will focus on building good chemistry and figuring out which players will join James in the starting lineup.