LeBron James shows confidence in Lakers’ young core

October 2, 2018 5:14 AM
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LeBron James talks predictions and expectations for his new Los Angeles Laker teammates. The young core has the “King” looking forward to his future.

When asked about the young core of the Los Angeles Lakers, LeBron James says he sees nothing but greatness from Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, and Kyle Kuzma. Their ability to contribute now and in the future is a huge reason James came to Hollywood.

At just 23, Kuzma is the oldest of the youngins’. On draft night last year, Kuzma had 25 teams pass up on. But at the 27th overall pick, his name was finally called by Magic Johnson and the Lakers. Kuzma’s rookie year came to a shock by many, as he played like a top-10 pick. Kuzma finished second in both scoring (16.1 points per game) and 3-point makes (159) from all rookies, only behind Utah’s Donovan Mitchell. His big year earned him a spot as a First Team All-Rookie.

Along with the rest of the NBA, James took notice of Kuzma.

“He was the steal of the draft last year,” James told ESPN. “What he’s done to his body and his mind this offseason is not only going to be huge for our team’s success but for him personally.”

Heading into his third season at only 21, Ingram has all the intangibles to be the “next” great player, according to James. Ingram is 6-foot-9 and has drawn many comparisons to Golden State’s Kevin Durant. Last season, Ingram took huge strides from his rookie year, in which he improved in almost every category. Ingram averaged 16.1 points, nearly four assists, and five rebounds per game.

Ingram, the second overall pick in 2016, is far from reaching his full potential. Ingram’s continuous growth has James warning the league.

“Look out, he’s got next,” James said.

And the youngest of the group at only 20 is Ball. At 6-foot-6 and stellar court vision, Ball is everything a team wants in a point guard. The UCLA product nearly averaged a triple-double his rookie year, racking up seven assists, seven rebounds, and 10.2 points per game. Without Ball last year, the Lakers averaged 6.7 fewer points, five fewer assists, and five fewer rebounds, per 48 minutes.

Ball’s future is destined for “greatness”, according to James.

The 2018-19 season will be different for James. It’s his first year on the Lakers and it will also be the first season since 2009 that he won’t have another superstar around him. But that doesn’t matter to James. He’s confident with the Lakers’ mix of misunderstood veterans and especially the young players.

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