Former NBA center and ESPN analyst Kendrick Perkins doesn’t believe that Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James can lead the team to a title in the 2023-24 season.
Instead, he thinks it’s up to Anthony Davis to get the Lakers back to the mountaintop.
— First Take (@FirstTake) July 13, 2023
“I don’t,” Perkins said when asked if he thinks James can lead the team to a title in the 2023-24 season. “I don’t. And not because I don’t believe in LeBron James. Look, I think he’s the greatest player of all time. We can debate that another day. I’m standing on that, 10 toes down.
“But when it comes down to putting expectations on a guy that’s going to be 39 years old in December, I just can’t do that. Especially when he’s playing alongside a guy that is in his prime – a top five talent – in Anthony Davis. This shouldn’t be on LeBron James.”
Perkins went on to say that James should “absolutely” be the second option for the Lakers, and that the Lakers will only go “as far as Anthony Davis can carry them.”
James’ former teammate said it was “unfair” to put the expectations on the four-time champion and rather that it is Davis’ “opportunity” and that the 2023-24 season should be on his shoulders.
While James is producing at unprecedented levels for his age, Perkins doesn’t believe that he should take the biggest burden when it comes to leading Los Angeles to a title. Last season, the 38-year-old averaged 28.9 points, 8.3 rebounds and 6.8 assists per game while shooting 50.0 percent from the field and 32.1 percent from beyond the arc.
James also broke the NBA’s all-time scoring record during the season. There’s no doubt he can still play at a high level, but he’s also dealt with various injuries during his time with the Lakers.
Last season, Los Angeles made the Western Conference Finals, but it was ultimately swept by the Denver Nuggets. The team kept most of the team from the 2022-23 campaign intact by bringing back Austin Reaves, D’Angelo Russell and Rui Hachimura in free agency.
The Lakers also made some key additions in guard Gabe Vincent, forwards Taurean Prince and Cam Reddish and big man Jaxson Hayes.
That should help the team weather the storm if it suffers any more injuries in the 2023-24 season.
Ultimately, it seems like Perkins believes in James, but he needs Davis to step up as well before believing that the Lakers can take home the title in the 2023-24 season.