The Los Angeles Lakers are in a pickle right now. Clearly, they want nothing more than to compete for a title, but people around the league don't see them as contenders. Renowned analyst Charles Barkley has a suggestion for the team to have a fighting chance.
"To me, I got to challenge LeBron [James]," said Barkley. "He's got to come after A.D. (Anthony Davis). He got to like, 'Yo, man. I am too old to carry this team. You should be the man.' Like the transition from Kareem [Abdul-Jabbar] to Magic [Johnson]. LeBron, at this stage, he is the greatest of this generation, one of the best ever. But at his age, we should not be asking a 38-year-old guy to be the best player on your team."
Can the King still carry a championship contender?
There is no doubt that James is one of the best ever to set foot on a basketball court. He will turn 38 in December, but the four-time MVP has shown that he can still perform at a high level.
Against the Golden State Warriors in the Lakers' season opener, James recorded 31 points, 15 rebounds, and 8 assists. However, it proved futile as L.A. lost 123-109.
As Barkley alluded to, the question now is if the 18-time All-Star can still be the greatest player on a squad with championship aspirations.
Passing the torch
When the Lakers acquired Davis in 2019, they were likely hoping they were getting a star who could succeed James as the King of L.A. After all, he was considered a top-10 player during his time with the New Orleans Pelicans.
For a time, the former No. 1 pick proved his worth - like in the 2020 playoffs when he averaged 27.7 points, 9.7 rebounds, and 2.5 blocks per contest in 21 games. The big man sustained his production in the Finals en route to helping lead the Purple and Gold to a title.
For the Lakers to hoist the championship trophy again, they will need the 29-year-old to regain his touch. As for Barkley, he believes that Davis has to step up as the franchise's leader and best player.