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Mark Jackson gets real on LeBron James, Lakers’ ceiling in 2022-23

Mark Jackson, Lakers, LeBron James, Russell Westbrook

The Los Angeles Lakers weren’t exactly great last season. As of now, they will be entering the new campaign with pretty much the same squad, so the expectations aren’t really that high for LeBron James and Co.

Former NBA player-turned-ESPN analyst Mark Jackson begs to disagree, though. In his mind, the Lakers can actually compete for a title this year — with one big caveat (h/t First Take on Twitter):

“Healthy, they can win a championship,” Jackson said. “If they are healthy and they compete on the defensive end night in and night out. … They have to develop the right habits they didn’t have last year and get back to defending. And then get healthy. They have to stay healthy, and once they do, they got a chance against anybody.”

Mark Jackson believes that if the Lakers are able to avoid major injuries this coming season, then they could be competing for a title in June next year. This might not be the popular opinion, but the fact is, the last time LA had both LeBron and Anthony Davis healthy for the majority of the season, they won the title.

There’s one major difference, though: Russell Westbrook. The former league MVP wasn’t with the Lakers when they bagged the championship in the bubble, and his arrival last season hasn’t been very beneficial for the team, to say the least.

Jackson also said that LA will need to be more effective on the defensive end, and this has been a bit of an issue for Russ. It goes without saying that the Lakers’ title hopes will also rely heavily on Westbrook — if he’s still on the team next season, that is.