“I am amazed at what LeBron can do,” Green said on Youtube’s “Scoop B Selects” with host, Brandon “Scoop B” Robinson on August 8. “I was talking with numerous friends and colleagues: just the fact that he’s playing at that level for his whole career….He’s coming with that expectation and all of a sudden he’s lived up to it that rookie year, and he sustained it throughout.”
Heading into his 21st season and turning 39 years old in December, James remains elite.
James averaged 28.9 points, 8.3 rebounds, and 6.8 assists this past season. He averaged 27.2 points, 7.4 boards, and 7.2 assists in 2004-05, which was his second year in the league but also the year he earned the first of his NBA record-tying 19 consecutive All-Star appearances.
He was more efficient this past season in becoming the NBA’s all-time leading scorer, too, posting a 58.3% true shooting mark compared to 55.4% in 2004-05.
And the four-time champion’s athleticism remains top-notch.
“The thing is, now that he’s coming toward the end of a career, his game is not coming toward the end of his productivity,” Green continued. “But at the same time, I’m also happy that you know [general manager] Rob Pelinka is bringing the resources around to help lighten the load a little bit where he doesn’t have to feel he’s got to carry that torch and baton every single game.”
Pelinka retooled the roster at the trade deadline, trading for several players including D’Angelo Russell, Rui Hachimura, and Jarred Vanderbilt. All three will enter the 2023-24 regular season still on the roster.
It’s as strong of a supporting cast as James has had since the Lakers won the title in 2020.
Lakers Need to Keep LeBron James Healthy
Injuries have become more of a concern as James has aged than a decline in his physical ability. He missed 27 games last season and has not made more than 56 appearances in any of the last three years.
But only four players averaged more minutes across more games than he did in the postseason.
“Got to keep it him and A.D and other guys healthy,” said Green. But the nucleus is starting to get right.”
Keeping James on the floor is indeed paramount to keeping the nucleus right.
The Lakers were 30-25 with James in the lineup (13-14 without) while their net rating swung from plus-5.3 with him to minus-4.4 without, per Cleaning The Glass. James is heading into the first year of a two-year, $99 million contract and flirted with the idea of considering retirement briefly this offseason.
A.C. Green Compares Victor Wembanyama to LeBron James
Green – who won three championships with the Lakers in the late 80s and 2000 – compared the situation for James then to what San Antonio Spurs big man and No. 1 overall pick of the 2023 NBA Draft Victor Wembanyama has experienced since last summer.
But he has maintained that he does not feel that or any pressure.
“Everybody’s been a unicorn over the last few years,” James said in October via NBA Interviews. “But he’s more like an alien. I’ve never seen – no one has ever seen anyone as tall as he is but as fluid and as graceful as he is out on the floor…For sure a generational Talent and, hopefully, he continues to stay healthy. That’s what’s most important for him.”