The eagerly awaited NBA season is here! The most intriguing thing for basketball this season has to be the Los Angeles Lakers and how they will perform with their star recruit, LeBron James.
The LA Lakers started their season playing the Portland Trail Blazers in Portland. LeBron made a statement with his first points as a Laker with a thunderous fast-break dunk. He proved that at age 33, he is still the best basketball player in the world. As a 15 year veteran, he still played 37 minutes and stuffed the stat sheet with 26 points, 12 rebounds and six assists. He showed no signs of slowing down despite his age and years of basketball that should have taken its toll on his body.
This was all accomplished while playing a very different style of basketball we are used to from LeBron. There was much less LeBron bringing the ball up most possessions and surveying his options, before driving and finishing with a powerful jam or kicking out to a shooter for a three. They played fast and old LeBron kept up. LeBron handled the ball much less, allowing playmakers, like Rajon Rondo, to actually play their position. He was more a finisher and rebounder and less a playmaker than we’ve ever seen him before. In spite of this, LeBron played well in his debut for the Lakers.
The LA Lakers as a team, however, needs much work. They kept up with the Blazers for three quarters, but were clearly outplayed in the final quarter, leading to a 128-119 loss. There were a lot of errors on defence. Much of this can be put down to a lack of time together as players. LeBron dished out many assists which were wasted by his teammates being in the wrong position or simply missing their shots. A couple of behind the back passes, which usually would be on LeBron’s highlight reel, went to nobody and out of bounds. Their shooting from the three point line was abysmal, making only 23 percent. Much has been said about the Laker’s lack of shooters and this pretty much confirmed it.
It’s only the first game of a very long season. The team should get better as they play more together. If not, LeBron may not be as patient as he says he will be. The Lakers have resisted in a big trade so far and opted to keep their young core of potential stars intact. However, this could all change as the season unrolls.