Los Angeles Lakers Should Expect Some Growing Pains


The past doesn’t always predict the future, but it’s good to start there to get a feel for whats coming. This will be LeBron’s 17th season so his teams have a past that tell a story. 

LeBron’s teams start slow. LeBron James has been on this ride before. Entering the season expected to lead his team to glory. Either by significantly changing the fortunes of a franchise or leading his new team by to the mountain top of the NBA.

In his rookie season it was expected of LeBron, Cleveland’s newly crowned King, to immediately turn around a franchise starving for greatness. The expectations, even as far-fetched as they may have been, were that the Cavs would show immediate improvement and LeBron would lead the way. At least in Cleveland that was the sentiment. However, even after a spectacular rookie debut against the Sacramento Kings, in which LeBron put up a stat line of 25pts, 6 rebs, 9 ast, and 4 steals, the Cavs went 5-15 in their first 20 games. They eventually rebounded to finish 35-47 on the season going nearly .500 the rest of the way.

In 2010 LeBron took his talents to South Beach in a shocking move that shook the NBA. In the first public appearance for the newest version of the Big 3, LeBron proclaimed that the Heat would win multiple championships and dominate the league. But the Heat started slow, going 10-8 through the first 18 games before eventually righting the ship and reeling off 12 straight wins in route to their first finals appearance. Even then Dwyane Wade and James struggled to mesh their games together before figuring it out.

In 2014 the King returned home to the Cavaliers as the prodigal son. Skipping the ESPN Special did not minimalize the expectations that his return would immediately turn the Cavs into champions. Joining a team that included all-star Kyrie Irving and newly acquired all-star Kevin Love, things were expected to go well immediately. LeBron’s team started slow again. 4-4 in their first 8 games, 5-7 in their first 12, and even after winning eight straight they were still a .500 club after 40 games.

LeBron again was on the move in 2017. After an unprecedented run to the Finals with the Cavs, James took his talents to L.A, to revitalize a Lakers franchise, years removed from the NBA throne. With a host of young talent and the addition of savvy veterans, the Lakers were at least supposed to return to the playoffs and sneak up on teams from the start. Hopes were high in Tinsel Town, but again the team started slow. Going 3-5 in their first eight games ignited rumors about Coach Walton’s job, construction of the roster and LeBron’s off-court interests. The Lakers eventually rebounded by December, sitting at 4th in the West before LeBron suffered the worst injury in his career. They ended the season missing the playoffs, LeBron’s first exclusion from the tournament in over a decade.

This year is a little different in that LeBron hasn’t moved on to a new team. He hasn’t left town but the team surrounding him is completely different. Gone is the young talent. Enter perennial All-Star Anthony Davis and a cast of veterans who have a vast amount of playoff success and a championship pedigree. The expectations are high. Luke Walton is gone, Magic is gone but the goal is still the same. The Lakers are expected to conquer the world, return to their rightful place atop the NBA and restore the glory of the past. Showtime or the Lake Show, or maybe even something new is to come. 

However, history shows that it will come with growing pains for sure.

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