Although Lebron James is widely considered the best basketball player on the planet and has a case for the greatest of all time, his addition to the Los Angeles Lakers is still not enough to dethrone the mighty Golden State Warriors, also known as the Dubs.
James signed a four-year max contract worth $154 million with the Lakers on July 9, after season-long speculation of his second departure from the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Anytime you have the best player in the world, you have a chance to win, there’s no doubt about that.
A four-time NBA MVP and three-time NBA Champion, James, has been known to carry a team on his back, much like Lakers-great Kobe Bryant.
However, this isn’t the Eastern Conference anymore, this is the wild wild West, meaning the path to the Finals has to go through the Warriors or possibly the Houston Rockets.
The Lakers have really talented young players, who could give the Warriors a run for their money, however, even with James—the self proclaimed King, it still may not be enough.
To contend with a team like the Dubs, the Lakers need another All-Star acquisition or a player like Ingram to make a huge stride and with legs as long as his, he definitely has the ability to do so.
As for the Warriors, the rich got richer, as the Dubs added DeMarcus “Boogie” Cousins, yet another All-Star to the team’s already star-studded quartet, which includes two NBA MVP award winners and two additional All-Stars.
Cousins is coming off of a season-ending achilles rupture, but should return sometime in January.
Last year, Boogie averaged 25 points, 13 rebounds and five assists per game. If he can play 70 percent near that level, the rest of the league will be in trouble.
The Dubs or should we call them the Harlem Globetrotters the way they have reigned over the NBA the past four years, have faced James in the Finals four straight seasons, winning three championships. So the Warriors know how to beat James.
This past Finals it was pretty much James against the Monstars from “Space Jam,” with the Warriors sweeping the Cavaliers 4-0, in the best of seven series.
Now a member of the Lakers, The King already has more help than he did in Cleveland, even though the current roster does not include another All-Star from last season.
Point guard Lonzo Ball, forwards Brandon Ingram and Kyle Kuzma, not to mention fan favorite Josh Hart, should make big strides this upcoming season. Although, they are all under 23 years of age, they each have shown flashes of stardom.
Kuzma was a rookie sensation averaging 16 points a game and making first team All-Rookie.
The Lakers have also been linked to disgruntled San Antonio Spurs superstar Kawhi Leonard in trade talks. However, the Lakers could opt to keep their young core intact, and wait until Leonard hits free agency in 2019.
Although the wins may not reflect this, the Lakers have played well against the Warriors in the last several years, without having a true star, since Bryant retired.
In a four-point overtime loss to the Warriors, Lakers second-year small forward Ingram out scored Kevin Durant, oh you know, just a guy who’s led the entire league in scoring four times—and Ingram only recently turned 20 years old.
Now adding James to that mix should make things a bit more interesting.
My early prediction has the Lakers facing the Warriors in the Western Conference Finals.
It’s hard to believe that even in the West, a James-led team with good young talent not making it that far, he’s just that much better than most players.
LeBron James. The King. MVP. NBA Champion. LAbron as Los Angeles billboards luring him to LA referred to him. G.O.A.T? Laker.
If he’s able to bring multiple championship titles to add to the Lakers 16 overall, then he may very well add Laker great to his long list of titles.
However, don’t expect a championship this upcoming season.