Richard Jefferson believes LeBron James is set to have a stellar season.
James, 34, posted good numbers last year — his first with the Lakers — but, he struggled with a groin injury that limited him to 55 games and his team missed the playoffs for the first time since 2004-05.
Jefferson, who played with James on the Cavaliers from 2015-17, said Monday during an appearance on ESPN’s “Get Up!” he thinks the star is going to bounce back in a big way.
“LeBron James will be the best player in basketball next year, again. Now, will he be the LeBron James from ’08 and chasing down blocks? No. But, he’s going to do so many different things. … I think he understands the disrespect. He’s felt it over the course of his career, at different levels. Now, it’s like ‘Oh, you’re old. You’re not that guy anymore.’ But, I think, really and truly, he’s more focused on proving to people that basketball is the most important thing to him. And, the only way to do that is to go and destroy as many people as possible.”
The Lakers’ roster should be much improved this season as they acquired Anthony Davis from the Pelicans this summer in exchange for Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart, Brandon Ingram and three first-round picks.
Los Angeles had cap space to add a third star next to James and Davis, but missed out on Kawhi Leonard, who joined the cross-town rival Clippers. The team then inked Avery Bradley, Danny Green, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, JaVale McGee, Quinn Cook, DeMarcus Cousins, Rajon Rondo and Alex Caruso to deals.
"For us anything short of a championship is not success," Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka said on a conference call last month (via the Los Angeles Times).
James, a three-time champion and four-time MVP, averaged 27.4 points, 8.5 rebounds and 8.3 assists for the Lakers in 2018-19.