By Ryan Leshko, Sports Columnist
Photo Courtesy of sportingnews.com
The NBA regular season is underway once again, and excitement is in the air. There is a lot to look forward to this year now that basketball is back, but there are a few storylines to watch for as we enter the season.
Will the Golden State Warriors win three straight NBA titles? How will Kawhi Leonard fare with his new team? Will Boston win the Eastern Conference?
While these are important, there is one more main storyline that everyone has their eyes on this season; Lebron James move to the Los Angeles Lakers.
There was so much speculation in the offseason where Lebron James was going to go. There was a lot of hype around this decision, even more than when he made the decision to join the Miami Heat in 2010, because he is arguably the greatest basketball player of this generation.
When he joined the Lakers in the offseason, I was not surprised. Lebron James is an athlete made for Hollywood and the fame that comes with being an athlete in Los Angeles. The team he signed with is a team filled with promising young stars and high hopes for success. I have no doubt that this team can go far in the future.
However, it makes me cringe when people say that the Lakers are going to make the playoffs, or even the Western Conference finals, this year.
In the last eight seasons, Lebron James has been to the NBA Finals for eight consecutive seasons. Lebron has not missed the playoffs since the 2004-2005 season.
Why do I mention these statistics? In a conference that has aforementioned defending champion Golden State Warriors and the Houston Rockets, two of the NBA’s top teams, do people seriously think Lebron and the Lakers are going to win 40-45 games? I can’t see this team winning that many games.
Luke Walton is in his third year as coach of the Lakers and has never had a season where he finished above .500. Lebron has a tendency, as a player, to take over games as a coach. So where does that leave Walton?
The Lakers have an unstable roster that was not strong to begin with and I do not think it was made any better by adding Javale McGee, Lance Stephenson, or Michael Beasley, three players who have been average throughout their careers. The team does not have a complement for Lebron, similar to what Kyrie Irving was in Cleveland. When it comes down to it, in the playoffs, I cannot see the Lakers winning a seven-game-series against a top seeded team like Golden State, or a middle-seeded team like New Orleans or Portland.
James has a legacy riding on this season and future seasons to come with the Lakers. I know that with a myriad of good teams in the Western Conference, he knows that the team will need to fight for a playoff spot.
Though James may be the greatest player of this generation, this year I think he will watch the NBA playoffs from his house.