Age is a significant factor to consider, and many believe that LeBron James' Superman days are over, mainly because he is so much more injury-prone. But Brian Windhorst, a senior sportswriter for ESPN, thinks otherwise.
In a phone conversation with Bart & Hahn, Windhorst maintained that he believes LeBron James can still carry the LA Lakers to playoff victories while acknowledging that the four-time NBA champ is more susceptible to injuries.
"He definitely picks his spots, he doesn't go full-bore all the games anymore. But when he decides to go, he still can take a game in his hand and control it, and if you still have that capability, you can still lead your team to playoff victories."
There is still a lot of skepticism surrounding LeBron James' decision to bring in Russell Westbrook as the nine-time All-Star has performed well below expectations, but Windhorst calls for patience from every interested party.
"LeBron and Anthony Davis in my mind have earned the trust of the Lakers and from me to sit back and watch on it a little bit and see how it develops, although I would agree that it doesn't look great at this point."
How is the LA Lakers fairing so far without LeBron James?
By the numbers, you can see that LeBron James is still a crucial player for the Lakers. Getting wins without LBJ on the court has been a struggle for the purple and gold. James is currently out with an abdominal injury, with the timeline of his return unknown.
Westbrook has not delivered the goods as many hoped, which has made the Lakers' run so far in the 2021-22 NBA season shaky. It is worth noting that Carmelo Anthony has been a bright spot for the Lakers, especially in the absence of LeBron James.
Without LeBron James, the Lakers are on a 2-3 run, squandering comfortable leads late in the game. So far this season, they have allowed the biggest comeback, giving up 29 points against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Despite being 36, LeBron James is still a difference-maker for the Lakers, as he can turn it up on both ends of the floor at will. His athleticism is still on full display, and his overall high basketball IQ will prove useful if the Lakers hope to go all the way this season.