Despite their very poor 2021-22 season, the Lakers and LeBron James want to believe in their chances of winning a new title. But according to a retired legend, we must forget that for a simple reason: the King would be too old to take his people to the end.
Can the Lakers be considered a title contender? This question is frankly thorny, a few days before the start of training camps. On the one hand, the past campaign does not give any confidence in the Purples and Golds, they who completely missed the playoffs (33-49). Considering the core of the team remained the same over the summer, it’s hard to believe they could pull off such a brutal 180 degree turn in a matter of months.
On the other hand, however, this hard core mentioned above always includes LeBron James, which should never be declared a loser in advance. The quadruple champion still dropped the dirty last year at 37, peaking at more than 30 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists on average. Impressive statistics, but not enough to convince Paul Pierce. The former Celtics winger decided in a very cash way, on the podcast of his ex-teammate Kevin Garnett:
Paul Pierce pessimistic for the Lakers 2022-23
Paul Pierce doesn’t see Lakers as ‘legit’ contenders due to LeBron’s age
“For one, LeBron is a year older. Yeah, he averaged 30, but how much longer can he do that?”https://t.co/Bb1kTa7ea4
— NBACentral (@TheNBACentral) September 22, 2022
I don’t see the Lakers as a legitimate competitor. First, LeBron is a year older. Yes, he averaged 30 points per game last year, but how much longer can he do that? And now you’re gonna pressure him at 37 or 38 to help carry Anthony Davis. He can’t stay healthy. But then who are the other centerpieces? Who are their role players?
First of all, remember that The Truth is not necessarily objective, having been a great enemy of the quadruple champion during his career. However, the age and health of the Chosen One are indeed to be taken into account. Bron will turn 38 next December, as his body has been failing him for two seasons. Last year, he still missed 26 games after playing only 45 games in 2020-21. Time begins to catch up with him, although he may still shine.
Besides that, we must also keep in mind that AD, his main lieutenant, squats the infirmary even more often than him, while Russell Westbrook was catastrophic last year. The coach has changed, Frank Vogel leaving his place to Darvin Ham, but will it be enough? Nothing is less certain, and everything will once again rest on the broad shoulders of L-Train. Which could be a problem if he gets injured again, a very likely eventuality.
According to Paul Pierce, LeBron James is now too old to be considered among the title candidates with the Lakers. Looking at the last Pourpres et Ors campaign, we tend to agree with him.