Now that the 2018-19 NBA Regular Season has begun, the biggest question of the offseason can now begin to be answered. Throughout the basketball world, everyone’s talking about the newest member of the Los Angeles Lakers, LeBron James. However, there’s a few issues concerning the amount of success that he’ll enjoy at the Staples Center. Most casual viewers of NBA Basketball believe that he’ll have no difficulty simply because he’s LeBron James, the world’s best basketball player. However, I’m here to tell you that James will have a lot more difficulty than you may think.
First off, let’s get the “he’s getting old” argument off the table. Normally this argument would be in play for a player who’ll turn 34 this season. But LeBron isn’t a player who’s subject to “normal” standards. However, something he will be subject to is the difficulty spike that comes with playing in the Western Conference. The NBA’s Western Conference has been much stronger than the Eastern Conference for most of the 21st Century, one argument that’s always been brought up as evidence that LeBron’s always “had it easy.” The level of competition he’ll see on a daily basis in the Western Conference will push LeBron to his limit, and there’s a question of whether he’ll be able to sustain his game-controlling play playing night in and night out with the NBA’s best teams.
Another issue that LeBron might have is getting his teammates to adequately help him out. Sure players like Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram and Kyle Kuzma are good, but they’re young and relatively inexperienced. LeBron’s never had a team where he is the only veteran player, so the issue that he might run into is that, even if the Lakers make it to the Playoffs, the younger players may not be able to deal with the pressure.
Personally, I think LeBron will be successful eventually with the Lakers, but this first year with the team will be fraught with difficulty and making the playoffs in this first year, while more likely than not, is not a guarantee.