LeBron James: Last-second predictions for the Los Angeles Lakers superstar in 2019-20
Preseason expectations posited a return to glory for a Lakers franchise that had been mostly dormant in the latter half of the decade. Instead, Los Angeles stumbled through a season filled with internal drama, injuries and a lack of perimeter shooting.
The Lakers supplemented their big acquisition by signing veteran shooters like Danny Green and Jared Dudley, while Kyle Kuzma remains as the lone member of the young core from last season.
Now, the lingering question is ever more pertinent: can James lead the Lakers to a title?
Here are three last-second predictions for the enigmatic superstar in his second season with the Lakers:
3. Career-high field goal percentage
In spite of the Lakers’ struggles, James was still an elite offensive player last season. It is also worth noting that he had an incredibly high usage rate, and averaged 5.9 three-pointers per game, the highest average of his career.
Now, James finds himself in an ideal situation. He has a legitimate anchor in the post in Davis, while Green, Dudley, Kuzma and Avery Bradley can all space the floor and provide perimeter shooting.
The floor will open up for James, and he should capitalize on the spacing by getting cleaner looks throughout the year. His career-high field goal percentage is .567 (2013-14), but the guess is that he eclipses that mark given less overall usage and higher efficiency.
2. 10+ assists per game
LeBron has already stated that the Lakers offense will run through Davis. James is already an elite facilitator, but Davis gives him so many more options on the floor. He can work in pick-and-roll or in pick-and-pop because of his growing ability to shoot the three, and he is an elite finisher around the rim.
Simultaneously, the Lakers have a wealth of shooting options on this roster, something that they sorely lacked during the 2018-19 season.
James averaged 8.3 assists last year even though the Lakers lacked perimeter options or a stretch four anywhere close to Davis’ caliber. He can certainly average double-digit assists.
1. Fifth NBA MVP Award
James will join Michael Jordan by winning his fifth NBA MVP award this season.
Sure, his rebounding and scoring numbers may go down with Davis in Hollywood. But if James sees a rise in efficiency and assist numbers while leading the Lakers to a top seed in a loaded Western Conference, there is no reason that he cannot claim the MVP.