LeBron James‘ tenure in Los Angeles got off to a slow start. That was to be expected. This Lakers roster is filled with talented but inexperienced young players, along with several veterans who are well past their prime.
Beyond that, there’s always a steep learning curve when it comes to figuring out how to play alongside LeBron James. That’s the same whether you’re a 10-year veteran or a second-year upstart who’s still learning the ropes. Just ask Kevin Love or Chris Bosh.
With their 133-120 loss to the San Antonio Spurs on Friday night, the Lakers fell to 15-10 on the season. Granted, it’s a marked improvement from a year ago for a franchise that finished near the bottom of the West standings, but it’s a somewhat dubious record for LeBron as it equals his worst start after 25 games in more than a decade.
Of course, there is a silver lining: it’s the same record he had after the quarter mark in his first year back in Cleveland in the 2014-2015 season. You’ll recall that those Cavs made their first of four straight trips to the NBA Finals, taking the eventual champs to six games without two of their best players in the lineup.
But don’t expect these Lakers to replicate that feat. The best fans can hope for is more modest, incremental progress, which could very well end in a postseason appearance if everything goes as planned and pull off an early round upset. That’s a low bar for LeBron James personally, but given the circumstances in Los Angeles, this year is all about tempering expectations.