What LeBron James achieved last season despite the Lakers missing the playoffs was marvelous. On an injury-ridden team where even LeBron missed time by being hurt, the man averaged over 30 points per game in his 19th season in the NBA. Not only is LeBron still playing in his 19th season, but he has also been one of the best players in the league for almost the entire time.
The Lakers missing the playoffs last season after having championship-winning expectations has caused a massive hit to the player's stock. However, injuries to Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook's awkward fit have to be considered while evaluating a man that spent a chunk of the season playing as a center.
ESPN ranked LeBron as the 7th best player in the NBA, one spot ahead of Kevin Durant. This is the first time they've ever had him outside the top 5 since they started the list in 2011. Fans are not happy about the second-leading all-time scorer being put this low.
Can LeBron Prove He's Still A Top 5 Player In The League?
Even in Year 20, the expectations from LeBron are incredibly high. This ranking and the larger perception around his failures in LA should be a challenge to the star, who needs to start holding the people around him accountable for their struggles.
Outside improving defensively, there isn't much LeBron needs to prove he can do even better next season. He just needs to pray the roster works together and Anthony Davis can stay healthy.
It doesn't look like the Lakers will trade Russell Westbrook before the start of training camp, so new coach Darvin Ham will get a crack at making this system work in a way Frank Vogel couldn't do last season. If the Lakers can stay healthy and LeBron keeps producing the way he has been, they just cannot be ruled out of the playoff race.