LeBron James’ ‘love’ for current Lakers teammates bodes well for team’s growing chemistry

Zach Stevens
2 Min Read

The Los Angeles Lakers look significantly different than they did during the first few months of the season, and as a result, they will be heading to the play-in tournament.

After they defeated the Utah Jazz 128-117 on Sunday to close out the regular season, LeBron James paid his teammates a big compliment.

Los Angeles started the season with a decent but incomplete roster, and a few of their players, in particular Russell Westbrook, did not fit in with its nucleus of James and Anthony Davis.

But multiple trades ahead of the trade deadline remodeled the superstar duo’s supporting cast, and now the team has a roster that has immense potential.

D’Angelo Russell has given the Lakers a Westbrook replacement who is smooth, under control and equally effective in transition and in the half-court game. Forward Jarred Vanderbilt is a versatile defensive stud, Malik Beasley is an outside shooting threat and forward Rui Hachimura has provided them with scoring off the bench.

In addition, Mo Bamba, acquired from the Orlando Magic for Patrick Beverley, is a backup center who can block shots and hit 3-pointers at a high clip.

The Lakers’ chemistry and morale also seem a lot better than it was just a few months ago. Teammates have taken to making goat sounds lately during James’ postgame interviews in the locker room, a reference to his status as, in the minds of a growing number of people, arguably the greatest of all time.

The team finished the season with the seventh-best record in the Western Conference, and thus it will take on the Minnesota Timberwolves in the play-in tournament on Tuesday. The Timberwolves are expected to be without forward Jaden McDaniels, one of the best defenders in the NBA, after he fractured his hand on Sunday.

If the Lakers win that contest, they will return to the playoffs as the seventh seed and face the chippy Memphis Grizzlies in the first round.

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Zach has always had a profound love and respect for the Lakers that has inspired him to write about the franchise. He has a great deal of admiration for LeBron James, and his overall knowledge about the NBA has made him a solid addition to the Lakers Daily staff.