There’s a lot of excitement in the air as the Los Angeles Lakers prepare for their upcoming season. After a first round last season, they’re looking for vengeance. Over the offseason they were able acquire big name players like Russell Westbrook, Carmelo Anthony, & DeAndre Jordan to their roster. In addition to that, they also reunited with Dwight Howard and Rajon Rondo, who were two key players from their 2020 championship.
The two main center pieces of the roster are obviously LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Overall, the Lakers’ 14-man roster has a combined 56 all-star appearances, eight NBA titles, and five MVPs. So, there will definitely be a lot of expectations coming into this season. Recently, they hosted their respective media day in order to take their team phots and address the media. They had a lot of key takeaways to breakdown. Here’s what their big three had to say:
The King is entering his 18th season in the league and is looking to add to his already impressive resume. James has no problem playing with veteran players. In fact, he has grown accustomed to that. Despite being the most accoladed team in the NBA, the Lakers have now become the oldest as well. The average age on the roster is 32.4 years, which makes them actually one of the oldest of all-time. The internet can sometimes be ruthless when it comes trolling, and that’s what it did. Likewise, memes began to circulate making fun of the Lakers’ old age; some which described them as a “retirement home”. James took the criticism with a grain of salt and stated, “The narrative about our age, I kind of laugh at it. I actually do really laugh. I’m not just saying that…Some of the jokes and memes have been extremely funny.” Needless to say James isn’t the least bit worried about his older team.
He even went on to relate it to a similar narrative that he had to deal with when he joined the Miami Heat: “I’ve heard this before in Miami and we know what happened with that…I’m 19 years [when the year becomes 2022] into this thing, this game is won between four lines not on paper.” He played for the Heat organization for four years, alongside Dwyane Wade & Chris Bosh. They ended up winning two championships together and James saw himself win two regular season MVPs in that span. Many people are also questioning the possible relationship that he & Westbrook might have. They claim that both of them require the ball in their hands in order to be fully successful. However, James, once again, shook off the skepticism: “We’ve been tied at the hip pretty much since we made the acquisition.” LeBron’s claim is true since both of them were seen working out together quite a bit during the offseason. Seems as though James is fully focused on winning another championship despite the doubt.
Westbrook will be interesting player this upcoming season. He’s going to have to buy into the Lakers system if he wants any shot of winning a championship. The chemistry between him and his teammates is there, but it will need to translate to the court. However, it seems as though it’s at least translating well in practice so far. Head coach, Frank Vogel, said that he was impressed with Westbrook’s contributions so far: “It’s noticeable how different the speed looks…He’s just a blur out there…He was just getting in the paint and finding people for threes all practice long.” That’s the sort of the system that James played in for the past few years. Drive to the paint and find the open man for a three in the corner.
It’s worth a mention that Westbrook never demanded a trade from the Washington Wizards. However, he did acknowledge to them that he was willing to be hypothetically dealt to the Lakers. He bluntly informed them that the Lakers were his preferred Los Angeles team and not the Clippers. This is probably mainly due to Kawhi Leonard “betraying” him. Westbrook has also seemed to acknowledge that James is the leader of the Lakers. He is quoted saying “We both understand and know what it takes in order to win and obviously LeBron knows what it takes to get to that next level.”.
Similar to James, Davis will be coming back with a vengeance this season. After he dealt with nagging injuries last season Davis changed his overall diet and health. Vogel also acknowledged his work ethic: “He put a lot work this offseason into his body, a lot of work…[When] he comes [came] in for a workout, the first time we’ve seen him for a while, and his body looked imposing.” At 28 years of age, Davis is actually one of the youngest players on the roster. When asked about the age concern for the Lakers, he stated verbatim, “Age ain’t nothing but a number.” He also praised for Westbrook for being an “elite playmaker.” Davis looks noticeably bigger and stronger which is imperative for him. The Lakers confirmed that he will play primarily center this season instead of power forward.
The main focus for the Lakers is to win another championship. They are not going to let the critics get to them. Carmelo Anthony went on to state “It’s someone else’s narrative. It’s not our narrative.”. The Lakers also have a deep roster and not everybody can play. However, they are also not letting that narrative distract them as well. The main priority is to win a championship. Vogel went on to say, “We all just looked at each other like, ‘We’re gonna be really good this year.” Everybody seems to be all in on the plan. When asked how everybody’s going to mesh together, James went on to say, “I’ll figure it out.”