LeBron James made his long-awaited return to a public basketball game as he played in the Drew League for the first time in 11 years. The King put on a show for the fans as he led his team to a 104-102 victory by finishing with 42 points and 16 rebounds.
James looked in great shape, as he always tends to do, but there had previously been some question marks surrounding him after an injury-riddled 2021-22 campaign. LeBron dispelled those concerns after that performance, and he also told ESPN that he is now 100% healthy.
"I'm 100 percent healthy," James told ESPN during the first half of action.
That would be music to the ears of Lakers fans everywhere, and they need LeBron to stay upright if they are to achieve anything of note in 2022-23. While they struggled even when he was on the court in 2021-22, going 25-31 in his 56 games, it got much worse without him as they went 8-18 in what would be a 25-win pace for an 82-game season.
It speaks to his greatness that despite being hobbled for stretches last season, he still ended up averaging over 30 points per game, and if the team around him weren't as bad as it was, they would have made the play-in game at the very least. A healthy LeBron is a scary sight for the league, and if the team manages to find a way to trade for Kyrie Irving, then they have to be regarded as serious contenders once again.
Having Anthony Davis fit for the entire campaign would also be a big help in that, but at this point, you have to live with the fact that he is going to miss significant chunks of the season with injuries. That is one of the big reasons why the team went out and got Russell Westbrook last season as a means to ease the load on their two stars, but it backfired spectacularly. Irving has boom or bust potential in LA, too, thanks to all of the issues he brings with him, and we look set for a very interesting Lakers season no matter what transpires this offseason.