After the Lakers got smoked by the Warriors on opening night, LeBron James was not shy about speaking on the shortcomings of the Lakers roster, particularly their three-point shooting.
It wasn’t exactly groundbreaking stuff to note that they don’t have a lot of great shooters — or “lasers” in his words — but given the formula for great LeBron teams since forever has been “surround him with shooters” it does not bode well for the Lakers this season. To the untrained eye, it was a standard critique from a star who has never been afraid to call out his team’s weak points, but one longtime observer of LeBron noticed something in the way James said it that piqued his interest.
ESPN’s Brian Windhorst has been covering James since high school and followed him around the league for his entire 20-year career, seeing him in just about every postgame presser for more than two decades. As such, he knows LeBron’s tells, and one of them is what he calls the “Truth Shake,” in which LeBron does a little head and shoulder shake when he’s saying something he really means. Windy broke it down on NBA Today on Wednesday and explained why it’s notable LeBron is talking like this one day into the season.
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) October 19, 2022
This is honestly incredible insight from Windy, who I like to believe has been fleecing LeBron in poker games for years off this tell, as it’s not something most anyone else would pick up on. As he notes, this is usually LeBron’s move when talking about where the team needs to improve before the trade deadline, and that he’s doing it this early when talking about the team’s deficiencies, it’s not hard to extrapolate that James will be not so subtly pushing the Lakers to fix this area on the roster sooner than later.
That shouldn’t come as a surprise given the reporting after he signed his extension that he was doing so with the expectation the Lakers would make moves to become a contender — which they have yet to really do. I would all but bank on the Russell Westbrook for Myles Turner and Buddy Hield rumors to resurface for the fifth separate time this year in the coming days.