Perhaps more so than any other professional sports league, NBA players are using their power. Players have forced their ways out of bad situations and have demanded a lot from team owners. However, public perception doesn’t always side with players.
Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James is well aware of that as he left a bad situation in Cleveland back in 2010 and fans ripped him apart for it. Golden State Warriors star Draymond Green recently called out the hypocrisy of people being upset when a player tries to force a trade, but not caring when a team like the Cavaliers holds Andre Drummond out of games while they figure out what to do with him.
LeBron had a chance to respond to Green’s rant and said he was “right with” him.
“It’s the narrative of what the league has always been,” LeBron said after Tuesday’s 112-104 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves. “From a team’s perspective, they control the narrative. They’ve controlled the narrative for how players should be, how they should act, how they should treat the organization. … We just want people to understand that there’s two sides of the coin. It’s not just one-sided.”
LeBron has been a driving force for player empowerment and it looks like he continues to gain reinforcements.
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Lakers Playing Well Without Anthony Davis
With Tuesday’s win over the Timberwolves, the Lakers are now 5-1 in games without Anthony Davis. Obviously, they are a better team when he’s healthy but LeBron has done an impressive job of leading the team while one of their superstars is out. Los Angeles has built strong depth on the roster and it’s starting to pay off.
Montrezl Harrell scored 17 points against Minnesota and Dennis Schroder scored 24. The Lakers have plenty of players who can fill the scoring void that Davis leaves. The real concern is the hole he leaves on defense. Davis has been one of the best defensive players in the NBA this season and that’s not easily replaced. Plus, having him out also reduces the Lakers’ size. It hasn’t affected the team too harshly but it could become a problem soon.
Lakers Have Brutal Stretch Coming Up
Unfortunately for the Lakers, they won’t be able to play a 7-21 Timberwolves team every night. Over their next eight games before the All-Star break, they play the Brooklyn Nets, Miami Heat, Utah Jazz, Portland Trail Blazers, Golden State Warriors and Phoenix Suns.
Those are six teams that could be in the playoffs at the end of the year and it doesn’t appear the Lakers will have Davis for any of those games. It’s highly unlikely the team heads into the break going undefeated in their upcoming stretch. However, winning four or five of those six games would be very impressive. LeBron is already a leading MVP candidate. If he can dominate the NBA’s best teams without his top teammate, it’s hard to imagine anybody voting against him.