LeBron James’ Stat-Padding Is The Lakers’ Only Real Chance To Win

I’ve been fortunate to see so many great Lakers teams in my life. From Magic and Kareem, to Kobe and Shaq, to ​​LeBon and Anthony Davis, I’ve seen Lakers teams race hard for the league and win championships across every NBA era.

So I will never take greatness For a given. Ever. Cherish the great teams as much as you can. They’re rarer than you think, even for a series with historical success like the Lakers.

Of course, as much as we wanted the 2021-22 Lakers to join the likes of those kinds of teams in the pool of blue and gold forum greats, that’s not going to happen. Except for some kind of miracle, this season will end sometime next month, in a way disappointing and frustrating. An impressive win in Toronto could temporarily overshadow that, but we don’t have enough time for the Lakers to come together in such a way that they are at loggerheads. that’s good. I made my peace with that.

With this season coming to a close, then, there’s been a lot of chatter about LeBron James and what his goals really are (or should be) during this final period of matches. Should he play as much as he does? Is it time to sit outside games? Why does he play so many minutes, especially in matches where the team struggles to stay competitive, let alone win?

But soon these thoughts turned from questions to accusations.

LeBron just wants to add his stats! Wants to win the scoring title! After notching his 10,000th assist in a recent game – he became the only player in NBA history to have had at least 10,000 career points, rebounds, and assists – he has the all-time scoring record for Karim! If Bron couldn’t win at the team level, he’d sure as hell beat an individual!

That is why I say: “So what if that was the case?”

Just as I’ve seen great teams in my life, I’ve also been fortunate to see all the great players who have given them strength. And as with those teams, I’m a big believer in recognizing great players for as long as we can – especially a player like James, who is nearing two decades in the league and is much closer to the end of his career than the beginning.

I definitely understand the frustration that comes from losing matches or watching the team struggle. I’m also more aware of the times when LeBron isn’t at his best, and how particularly frustrating these types of games can be. But, if we’re being honest, even the worst LeBron games offer at least one flurry of great gameplay that has us on the edge of our seats eager to see what he’s up to next. We usually get more than that. After all, how do you think he’s so close to leading the league in scoring or subtracting some box results as he is?

All this brings me to the most important point here. Since the All-Star break, getting into the Wizards game, the Lakers have won only three games in 12 attempts. In those competitions the team has won, here are LeBron’s stats lines:

  • 56 points, 10 rebounds and 3 assists
  • 50 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists
  • 36 points, 9 rebounds and 7 assists

Notice a thread here? The surest way for the Lakers to win the game now is for LeBron to be another world from a statistical standpoint. This team is simply not talented (or healthy) enough as it is currently built to be able to compete overnight. With that said, I see nothing wrong with active rooting for Bronn to get out there and hunt down all the numbers he can get. There is a direct relationship between those individual endeavors and the larger team goals, and the numbers underline that.

On top of that, watching LeBron take off is, you know, fun. Or at least the version that comes close to that that you’ll get into a dismal campaign. And if nothing else, giving us a volley of scoring, a highlight (or three) in a game where his team is clearly outperforming and outperforming his own is a reminder of why we’re watching him in the first place. This, after all, is my entertainment league. And while winning is my favorite version of that, a great player showing us why he’s great in the first place is at least a decent consolation prize.

Now, can he sit down to play here or there? Yes – and if his knee continues to bother him (especially on the second night of his back), I totally expect him to. Just as I would expect him to play fewer minutes in matches he lost completely, and/or games where the team starts very slowly, Or unable to make the push to get things close enough to snatch the win if the team happened to let their foot off the gas long enough to allow the Lakers to get back in on it.

But in the absence of those situations, LeBron going out and trying to figure out the kinds of numbers his team needs in order to try to win games doesn’t bother me at all.

Finally, as much as we try to push these things to the side and put them (rightly) behind the team goals in the hierarchy of what’s important, individual successes and accomplishments still matter. Especially for the great players who are always competing – both consciously and unconsciously – to put their legacy on as aggressively as possible. LeBron is no different, and I don’t envy him for piling those numbers and adding them to his career totals in ways that can only enhance how his career is viewed post-retirement.

And the fact that he does some of these things in a Lakers uniform makes him special, at least to me. No, LeBron is not one of for us Like Magic or Can Kobe. He wasn’t a local here, and had a full career in the Hall of Fame without ever serving as the Lakers. It’s more shriveled or suspicious that way. But, after next season (his twentieth in the NBA), LeBron will do it He spent a quarter of his career in the NBA wearing the Lakers uniform. And when all is said and done, these years and accomplishments while wearing that uniform will be part of his Lakers legacy (and career). That matters.

So, go out there and cook, Bron. Get all the numbers you can get. Because even though this season will never be what any of us hoped it would be, as we reported on Friday, it can still be as special as you do on any given night.

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