LeBron James will get most of the credit for getting the Los Angeles Lakers back to the NBA Finals. The team hasn’t gotten this far in years and Anthony Davis has never even made it to the Conference Finals. Regardless of LeBron making his 10th Finals appearance, there are still detractors.
When asked to give a prediction for the Finals, Chicago Bulls legend Scottie Pippen took a shot at LeBron, per Forbes:
I think it’s going to be a great series. To me, Miami has a little bit of the edge. I think people are overlooking how well they’ve played and their style of play. I give a lot of credit to the way the Lakers have played defensively but I think Miami is ready for the challenge. They have players that are playing with a lot of confidence right now. I don’t take nothing away from the Lakers and LeBron going to his 10th Finals. He still has to prove he can lead a team himself. I think Anthony Davis has shown he’s more valuable to them on the offensive end but I think Miami has more offensive weapons they’ll be able to throw at LA.
LeBron has a lot to prove he can lead a team himself? That’s a bold statement from Pippen considering Michael Jordan never led a team to the Finals himself. Plus, it’s just not true that LeBron hasn’t done it himself. In 2008 and 2018, LeBron led really lackluster Cavaliers teams to the Finals. No, he didn’t win but at least did enough to get them there. However, it doesn’t matter.
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Every great player needed help to win a championship. Magic Johnson had Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Jordan had Pippen, Kobe Bryant had Shaquille O’Neal and Pau Gasol and the list could go on forever.
Davis has been excellent since he joined the Lakers but it’s still LeBron’s team and that’s why he finished second in MVP voting.
Davis Believes Title Has Extra Meaning to LeBron
In the Finals, LeBron will be facing off against his old team. He won two titles while he was there and Erik Spoelstra was his coach. LeBron denies that this matchup has any extra meaning to him but Anthony Davis isn’t buying it.
“To be back in the Finals against Miami, I think, means a lot more to him winning this than anyone else,” Davis said. “I think this championship is probably second behind Cleveland, being able to get this one for him.”
Beating his old team and coach would have to be at least just a little more satisfying for LeBron.
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Davis Believes This Championship Will Be ‘Tough’
These Finals are coming after a long stint in the bubble. Players have been pretty open about how mentally draining it is to be locked away from society. Davis is among the players who think this is one of the hardest championship runs ever.
“I think this one is going to be a tough one,” Davis said. “People said it’s going to be the toughest championship in NBA history from a mental standpoint just because of the circumstances.”
Some people want to put an asterisk next to the title due to the unique circumstances of the bubble. However, teams that were able to stick it out might deserve even more credit.