LeBron James looks like a ‘freight train’ after injury

The last photo of LeBron James on the Lakers court for public viewing was of him shouting through a foot injury in Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals, in which he played nearly all of Game 4 despite being clearly limited by the injury. 48 minutes.

Of course, he can still bully his way into his position – his quality is almost unrivaled among players in his position. But when he pressed the accelerator to the floor, the acceleration feeling of the sports car disappeared. Electric athleticism dimmed. Along with that, some of his “wow” factor disappeared.

But for those in the Lakers’ first two days of training camp, that version of James has become just a memory. They now face the reality that, at 38, James is defying time again with his speed and explosiveness.

“He’s 100 percent healthy,” Darvin Ham declared. “I look good. “He looks like a third- or fourth-year LeBron. “

It certainly didn’t look like that when James returned from a serious foot injury late last season. But this summer and early in training camp, his teammates saw a timeless version of the league’s all-time leading scorer.

“He looks like he’s in good shape. Just the energy level, his activity. He changes both ends of the court and he does look like he has more bounce and energy,” Jared Vanderbilt said after Wednesday’s practice said. “We’re excited to have him back at 100 percent. Like I said, he’s still moving and watching the freight train.”

James said during media day on Monday that he is ready to test.

“A lot of my focus this summer has been on my foot and bringing it back to the game before the injury, before Dallas, where I almost tore the entire tendon in my right foot. We’ve spent a lot of time this summer. Time to fix this and get it back to where it needs to be,” he said. “But my foot responded really well in the offseason workouts. Looking forward to seeing how it responds in training camp and all preseason leading into the regular season. It’s exciting to see where I am today.”

Hamm said that while James looks the same as before, the team around him has changed. If things go according to the Lakers’ plan, James will have a lot of help around him, just like he did during the team’s Western Conference Finals run. In the playoffs, James gave up big moments to Anthony Davis, Austin Reeves, D’Angelo Russell and the late Lonnie Walker IV.

“He can choose his position now. He’s an older, wiser guy on and off the field. He’s been very thoughtful in choosing his position to do that and show that ,” Hamm said. “He’s got a lot of help in his voice now. It’s just going to make him explosive longer in games, in the season. So now when we get there, he’s going to give it his all.”

After last year, people should feel confident relying solely on this help.

“He’s going to be the quarterback. He’s going to help us decipher what we need to decipher strategically and how we attack our opponents. Same as last year,” Hamm said. “But this year, we just saw Gabe Vincent hit a huge 3-pointer in today’s scrimmage to put his team up by one and ultimately win the scrimmage. AD Big play. D-Lo Shooting. Austin… he helped. Rui (Hachimura). Christian Wood. There was help everywhere. Guys made key shots in key moments and won the game. Just based on that fact, when When he needs to attack, he picks his spots. We want him to be aggressive, but again, he’s probably the most unselfish elite superstar I’ve ever seen. He just makes the right plays.

“He’s been adamant about this early in his career, saying he was afraid of this moment. Nothing could be further from the truth. He’s just slowly playing the right basketball. Now, these guys gathering around him and AD are just going to make Things get worse.”

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