After six agonizing years of being a sub .500 basketball club, the Los Angeles Lakers are back on top thanks to their two superstars, LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
This season, James and Davis are averaging a combined 53.6 points, 15.8 rebounds and 2.8 steals per game while posting a +12.1 net rating in the time they’ve shared the floor together. They’re enjoying success individually, too, with James leading the league in assists and Davis leading the league in blocks. Additionally, they’re both ranked in the top-10 in scoring.
If the season ended today, they’d probably both finish in the top-five in MVP voting, but James doesn’t want anyone to believe that the Lakers’ success ends with him and Davis. During an interview with ESPN, James said that he thinks everyone has stepped up and played their role this season:
“It starts with me and AD ... How our approach is both on and off the floor, and then it trickles down to everybody else. But everyone is an MVP. Everyone has a role on our team, and everyone is accepting their role and being an MVP in their role, and you can’t ask for more than that.”
Davis also recently talked about the Lakers’ bench not getting enough credit, so he and James are even on the same page when it comes to messaging their leadership through the media.
But to James’ point, no one has personified the idea of being an MVP in their role more than Dwight Howard. Howard returned to the Lakers with the reputation of being a fading star who was struggling to come to terms with his new reality. Since then, Howard has debunked that narrative by focusing on rebounding, shot-blocking and cleaning up around the rim.
Rajon Rondo, Avery Bradley, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope have also exceeded expectations this season, which is huge considering all the questions about the Lakers’ guard rotation going into the season.
As a result, the Lakers are 21-3, which is tied for the best record in the NBA with the Milwaukee Bucks. To put it simply: The Lakers are the Lakers again, and James is enjoying every part of his second season in Los Angeles:
“I am a Laker. I’m definitely a Laker. I feel it and I’m happy as hell to be one,” James said.
It’s safe to say Lakers fans are pretty happy, too.