As expected, it hasn’t taken long for LeBron James to make his mark in Los Angeles, and the three-time NBA champion has already started making history in a Lakers jersey.
In a sensational performance against the Portland Trail Blazers in which he recorded a season-high 44 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists, James moved ahead of Wilt Chamberlain in the NBA’s career scoring list. While the result saw the Lakers win for the sixth time in seven games, the post-game focus was firmly on King James.
LeBron’s 44 points against the Trail Blazers put him on 31,425 points, behind only Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Karl Malone and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. While it was James who stole the headlines as the Lakers registered a 126-117 victory to improve their record to 8-6, JaVale McGee and Brandon Ingram also played a key role with 20 and 17 points respectively. But, as has been the case since the start of the season, James was the star of the show, proving once again why the Lakers are being tipped as potential dark horses this year.
The influence of James has been highlighted in how the betting is looking this season. Considering they haven’t made the playoffs since 2012/13, the fact the Lakers are short as +2200 with the latest NBA betting odds to go all the way and see James win a fourth championship shows just what the 33-year old has done since arriving in the summer. Against Portland, James scored 28 second-half points at a time when the Trail Blazers looked as though they might stop the Lakers winning run. And it’s this game-winning showing from James that could be the difference between actually challenging for the championship.
The win means Los Angeles are now enjoying their best start to a season since the 2011/12 campaign, and you can definitely forgive those Lakers fans who believe this is their year for getting a bit ahead of themselves. And things could be yet to get even better if everything goes to plan, with the franchise now favorites to sign Kevin Durant next summer. The nine-time All-Star will be eligible for a four-year, max deal worth $38.15 million a year next year, which is something the Lakers could accommodate, with some shuffling around.
Despite the fact there will be a host of teams in the market to sign Durant next summer, the prospect of playing alongside LeBron in Los Angeles is reportedly something that the Golden State Warriors man is extremely interested in doing. And with rumors surfacing claiming James has already started holding talks with Durant regarding a potential move to the Lakers, next season could see this team genuinely capable of challenging for a championship. While there is an outside chance the Lakers could achieve something remarkable this year, the feeling is that it will be next season when this team will really make a charge for glory.