In one significant way, this was a new LeBron. After 8 straight Finals and putting pressure on his teams to make win-now moves, LeBron is obviously in a different mindset for his Lakers era. Reiterating many times that this time is not championship or bust, he lowered the expectations and the pressure on his young teammates. He did point out that striving for excellence and working hard is imperative so don’t interpret this as LeBron being chill about losing. But one of the most cerebral players on the court and off the court understands the challenge of playing in the West during Warriors era.
It remains to be seen how much patience will he have for his young teammates and Luke Walton at the helm. This is a great attitude but when you go to 8 straight Finals losing and rookie mistakes can build up frustration. An encouraging sign was the high praise he had for all his young teammates during an interview with ESPN’s Dave McMenamin. On Lonzo: “He’s destined for greatness I believe”, Brandon Ingram: “Look out, I think he’s next”, Kyle Kuzma: “He’s the steal in the draft last year, what he’s done to his body and what he’s done to his mind this offseason is gonna be huge, not just for our team success but him personally”
My favorite one….on Lance Stephenson: “A dog. He’ll run through a wall for you”. This was an amazing moment. The LeBron-Lance dynamic will be amazing this year and having Lance annoy other people for a change will surely be a top 3 change in moving to the Lakers for LeBron. We learned LeBron will have more patience than in the past decade but expects a winning attitude on a daily basis. Guess that’s the source of all the veteran signings that baffled the league. He wants to surround the young talent with a relentless mindset from day one.
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) 25. rujna 2018.
The minutes’ distribution will be the best barometer of LeBron’s mood during this season. Just take notice of the minutes and who is closing games and you will know is he running out of patience or believes they deserve the chance. In agreement with Luke Walton of course.