The Los Angeles Lakers training camp will begin with a half-day session on Monday, and there’s a sense of quiet but tangible optimism about the upcoming season from everyone from the front office to the fans.
The Lakers miraculously shuffled their roster last season, turning them from a mediocre team into a team with championship aspirations. Despite having to quickly build chemistry with newcomers like Rui Hachimura, D’Angelo Russell and Jared Vanderbilt, they made it to the Western Conference Finals and were swept by the Denver Nuggets.
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Perhaps the only real concern for the team heading into the 2023-24 season is the health of LeBron James. The 38-year-old superstar suffered a right foot injury in late February, forcing him to miss a month of action. After returning, his explosive power was obviously limited.
But the Lakers feel good about the health of James and Anthony Davis, according to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin. Additionally, he mentioned that Davis’ jump shot looks effective, something Austin Reeves also said recently (h/t Lakers Daily).
“As far as health, whether it’s LeBron or AD, the team feels really good,” Dave McMenamin said. “Now, the Lakers players organized a mini-camp in San Diego last weekend. All the players on the roster showed up, and the talk was how good Anthony Davis’ jump shot looked.”
James has clearly become injury-prone since arriving with the Lakers five years ago. He has only played more than 56 games for them once in a season, and many believe his playing time and workload will need to be slashed significantly to keep him healthy moving forward.
After the Lakers swept the Western Conference Finals, James hinted that he was considering retirement. Few took him seriously enough, in fact, that he announced at the ESPY Awards in July that he would be returning to the NBA for a 21st season.
Then, his son Bronny had a health scare during an early workout at USC. But McMenamin said the elder James was feeling refreshed.
“When I asked LeBron how he was feeling this year, the term used was ‘energy,’ a source close to LeBron told me,” McMenamin said. “You think about this summer, his priority was getting medical care and attention, finding specialists for his son Bronny, who had a heart condition during his early internship at USC. But as part of that, when LeBron and When Bronny was traveling with him, he was looking for a gym. I heard he started training before the sun came up and that was his routine, and he was training twice a day in the weeks leading up to training camp next week.”
James Sr. has every reason to feel renewed, as the Lakers have a chance to win him his fifth championship ring this season.