Magic Johnson is no longer a member of the Los Angeles Lakers front office, but that hasn’t prevented him from gushing over LeBron James and the team’s incredible season so far.
While speaking to Heavy’s Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson at the McDonald’s Black & Positively Golden’s event hosted by Kenny Smith in Chicago, Johnson broke down the outstanding season James has had, leading the Lakers to a Western Conference-best 41-12 record.
“He’s just doing an amazing job,” Johnson said of James. “He’s the leader in assists in the NBA and he’s averaging almost close to 30 points per game every single night as well. He’s really having an MVP-type season.”
Despite the backing of Johnson, James still has an uphill battle if he wants to claim his fifth NBA MVP. In the latest odds provided by Odds Shark, reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo is the favorite at -125. Luka Doncic (+375) and 2018 MVP James Harden (+550) are both ahead of James (+800).
Magic Johnson on Lebron James: Our Games Are Much Alike
Transitioning to more of a true point guard role, James is averaging double-digit assists for the first time in his career. His 10.8 assists per game mark are the best in the NBA and a full assist better than Atlanta’s Trae Young (9.2), who is second.
At 6-foot-9, Johnson — who won five NBA titles and was named an All-Star 12 times — revolutionized the point guard position with his dynamic skill set. LeBron has always had an outstanding passing ability, but Johnson has seen starker similarities of late between himself and James.
“Now he’s really truly playing the point guard. He was point-forward before,” Johnson said. “I think we do play similar and we have similar ways in terms of coming down and making our teammates better. We won championships the same way. Our games are much alike, especially now that the ball is in his hands most of the time now as a real, true point guard.”
James is currently eighth on the all-time assists list with 9,213 doled out and will have a chance to pass Johnson (10,141) and break into the top five.
Magic Johnson: Anthony Davis, LeBron James Are Best Duo in NBA
What has allowed James to function more in a facilitator role is the addition of All-Star starter Anthony Davis to the Lakers roster. Davis is averaging 26. 6 points, 9.2 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game.
Much of Johnson’s final season with the Lakers in a front office as the president of basketball operations was defined by a pursuit of Davis, which never came to fruition. Johnson stepped away from his role with the team last year in an abrupt departure, but has lauded the way Davis has transformed the franchise alongside James following the blockbuster offseason move.
“When we traded for Anthony Davis — Chicago’s own Anthony Davis — it made life easier for LeBron,” Johnson said. “But also, LeBron has made life easier for AD as well. Now let’s see what happens these last 30 games, on into the playoffs.”
If the season ended today, the Lakers would be the top seed in the West. Denver is four games behind at 38-17 and lost to LA before the All-Star break in overtime, 120-116.
“Right now as a duo, they’re playing the best of anybody,” Johnson said. “It’s been amazing to watch the elevation of Anthony Davis. He’s doing a tremendous job.”