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David Griffin says LeBron James no longer have luxury of peaking late in the West

LeBron James, Lakers

Given that LeBron James has new teammates this upcoming season, critics expect the Los Angeles Lakers to have a slow start. Chemistry still has to be built. But according to former Cleveland Cavaliers general David Griffin, James no longer has the luxury of peaking late in the Western Conference.

Speaking on The Full 48 with Howard Beck, Griffin recalled the first season of James, Kevin Love, and Kyrie Irving together. They started out with a 19-20 record. But as the regular season progressed, they racked up the victories. They ended up with a 53-29 record and made it all the way to the NBA Finals.

“We started our first year together — with LeBron back and Kevin Love and Kyrie — we started 19-20 that year,” Griffin said. “And when you go through that kind of upheaval early on, in the East, you’re able to not have a great deal of stress around, ‘We have to make the playoffs.’ And obviously with that roster, at the time we put it together, we felt really strongly that, if we just get in the playoffs, we’re gonna wreak havoc.”

But Griffin knows that they were able to do that because they were in the Eastern Conference. Out in the West, when you start out with a losing record, there’s a good chance that you won’t qualify for the postseason.

“In the West, you don’t have that. You don’t get the advantage of, figure it out on the fly and let it take a great deal of time and start out 19-20 because your pieces are terrible fits.”