LeBron James will prove he’s still the best player in the game when NBA restarts
LeBron James is one of the best basketball players ever because of his combination of court vision, strength, speed, athleticism, and leadership. The fact that he went to eight straight NBA Finals from 2011-2018 remains one of the most impressive feats in modern sports history and is unlikely to be repeated by another player.
Once the NBA restarts, LeBron and the Los Angeles Lakers have a great chance of getting back to the NBA Finals once again. During this season, people began to question whether or not he is still the best player in the game today. With Giannis Antetokounmpo in the midst of another MVP season and Kawhi Leonard coming off an NBA Championship, it seems like the torch has been passed and LeBron is no longer the best player.
However, previous to the NBA season being suspended LeBron and the Lakers made quite the statement and it seems like LeBron took it personally that people were questioning his place in today’s game. The statement games were against the Milwaukee Bucks and LA Clippers followed up by a close loss to the Nets in a letdown game.
The game against the Bucks was one of the standout performances from LeBron as he played great defense on Giannis in the post not giving an inch to the burgeoning superstar. LeBron isn’t about to give away the title of “best player” without a fight and he proved himself the better player against potential suitors for that crown in Giannis and Kawhi.
The two stars battled it out with Giannis putting up 32 points, 11 rebounds, and six assists but was a minus-11 for the game. LeBron countered with 37 points, eight rebounds, and eight assists and was a plus-8 for the game. The Lakers won, 113-103 led by a big fourth quarter from Anthony Davis the Lakers were able to get a comfortable win against the team with the best record in the league.
The second great performance by LeBron James was against the Clippers where he took on the challenge of guarding Kawhi and had some great help defense to seal the win. The Lakers won, 112-103 with LeBron putting up 28 points, eight rebounds, and nine assists.
Kawhi put up 27 points and two rebounds but was a minus-17 for the game while LeBron was a plus-7. This was a big win for the Lakers since they lost their previous two games to the Clippers earlier in the season. Another player that played great that game on both ends of the court was Avery Bradley, who was a plus-13 and put up 24 points, three rebounds, and one assist.
However, Bradley has opted out of joining the Lakers in Orlando leaving the team with the difficult task of attempting to replace their best perimeter defender and a serviceable shooter and cutter. Losing Bradley no doubt hurts the Lakers, but as long as LeBron and Anthony Davis are playing well off each other they will be hard to beat.
A LeBron James that plays defense and competes at the highest level makes the Lakers all the more dangerous and that’s the player we saw against the Bucks and Clippers. The Lakers’ first game back after the restart will be against the Clippers so it’ll be interesting to see how both teams look after such a long layoff. Anthony Davis was also knocking down the 3-pointer with decent efficiency (33.5%) making him an elite rim protector and shot spacer.
LeBron has always had success with a floor-spacing big man, whether it was Chris Bosh with the Heat or Kevin Love with the Cavaliers. Davis is a better version of those players and while LeBron may have lost a step since his younger days they still form an elite duo that will be difficult to beat.
LeBron is an elite athlete, passer, rebounder, and defender making him the most well-rounded player the game has ever seen. LeBron has worked on his main weakness, his shooting in order to reach his full potential. The coronavirus stoppage has allowed an older team like the Lakers a chance to rest and reset for a return to play in the Orlando bubble on the Disney campus.
The Lakers remain a top contender to win the NBA title come October and will need LeBron and Davis to lead them. LeBron proved prior to the hiatus that he doesn’t plan on giving up the title of “best player” any time soon and he once again showed what makes him a once in a lifetime athlete.