The Los Angeles Lakers are preparing themselves for life without LeBron James, for the next few games at least. They want you to know they’re as ready as they can be, given how great a player he is and all he does to make them better. While how ready they are remains to be seen, this is the best (read: only) way to meet that challenge — head on and with confidence.
Kyle Kuzma was asked how he feels about having to stay afloat while James is out by Scott Cacciola of the New York Times, and further voiced how the Lakers have prepared for this next week or so:
“I mean, it’s not like we’re panicking because he’s gone,” Kuzma, the second-year forward with the Los Angeles Lakers, said late Tuesday night. “We’re pros, too. We’re great players — or on our way to trying to be great players. So it’s all about that next-up mentality and having a will to win.”
Beating the breaks off a Golden State Warriors team at full strength can definitely help with confidence against just about anyone, it would seem.
Former Lakers fans defending their life choices Warriors fans can claim apathy on the part of their team, but that was a legitimate win, and Kuzma and his teammates should use that to buoy their belief in themselves moving forward.
Still, Kuzma remained realistic when talking about what the Lakers will be missing with James out.
“He’s a big part of us, obviously,” Kuzma said of James. “He makes us go. But that’s why it’s a team sport.”
It’s going to be interesting to see how the Lakers strategically address what they’ll be missing without James in the lineup and who steps up to make that work. On one hand, Brandon Ingram seems like the guy most likely to do most of the creating for others (especially with Rajon Rondo out again), but the Lakers could really throw themselves into more of a team effort and utilize their waves of attackers in transition the way Luke Walton has repeatedly asked for.
But no matter how the Lakers choose to play without James, this is an opportunity not only to show everyone who (somewhat rightfully) describes James’ teammates as “those other guys” that the Lakers are more than that, but it’s also a chance to prove to James and the Lakers who is best suited to stick around for the entirety of his Lakers tenure.
As of right now, at least, Kuzma and the Lakers seem to be ready for this next challenge and are approaching it as confidently as they can.