Report: Young Lakers were crushed last season after LeBron James would often make faces at their mistakes

Justin Benjamin
3 Min Read

The Los Angeles Lakers didn’t experience much success in LeBron James’ first season with the franchise.

The four-time MVP grew frustrated with team’s young core last season. However, Lakers veteran Rajon Rondo wasn’t afraid to confront James when his attitude became problematic.

“The Lakers cited Rondo’s IQ when they signed him, then quickly learned his willingness to challenge the best was an unexpected bonus,” Jackie MacMullan of wrote. “Amid a frustrating 2018-19 season, Rondo noted James souring on the young players and immediately confronted him.”

Rondo and James both joined the Lakers for the first time in their careers during the 2018-19 season.

While Rondo isn’t quite at his prime, he is still holds a ton of experience and expertise. The point guard won a championship with the Boston Celtics in 2008.

Furthermore, he’s been on several deep playoff runs over the course of his career. As a result, he knows what it takes to win a title and the positivity required to withstand hard times.

So, when James suffered to win alongside the Lakers’ unproven youngsters last season, he was met by critique from Rondo.

“When guys are making the same mistakes over and over and over, it’s hard to bite your tongue,” Rondo says, “but I tried to get [James] to focus on his body language.”

Some of the young players looked at James as an idol. Therefore, James’ attitude and body language were critical to the team’s success.

“Those young guys were looking at everything he did. If they missed four shots in a row and LeBron was making a face, it was crushing to them,” wrote MacMullan. “He was their Michael Jordan. They didn’t want to let him down. But if LeBron said one thing positive to Brandon Ingram or Kyle Kuzma, they immediately were back to their old selves.”

In the offseason, the Lakers shipped several young pieces and future draft compensation to the New Orleans Pelicans for superstar Anthony Davis.

Now, the Lakers are in the 2020 NBA Finals. Over the course of the postseason, Rondo is averaging 9.5 points, 7.2 assists, 3.8 rebounds and 1.3 steals per game.

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Justin’s enormous respect for LeBron James has ignited him to write for the King and Lakers. His all-around analysis and heart for the game has made him a stellar NBA writer and proud staff writer for Lakers Daily.