“Houston spoils LeBron’s debut” was the last round of comments from an NBA summarizer after Los Angeles Lakers fell 115-124 to Houston Rockets last night.

That loss was Lakers second in as many games in a season where expectations are so high after landing LeBron James in free agency. Playing Houston at the Staples Center was James debut game in his new home that ought to have ended with a win.

However, Houston needed a win after falling to New Orleans Pelicans in its opening game at home in a game that turned feisty in the latter minutes. Lakers Rajon Rondo and Brandon Ingram and Rockets Chris Paul got into a heated exchange which resulted in ejections for all three and heavy punishment is surely coming later in the week. Controversy and losses have characterized Lakers this season than its play which has confirmed all suspicions of a poor three point shooting team.

In a loss to Portland Trailblazers, Lakers converted just seven of 30 attempted shots from deep and against Houston, the situation did not improve. LeBron’s run with Los Angeles is turning out to be frustrating than his last pair of years with Cleveland Cavaliers. While his numbers are impressive, 25 points, 5.5 assists and 8.5 rebounds, his teammates are yet to provide enough help despite playing some of the best basketball in their careers. Lonzo Ball enjoyed a breakout from three point range scoring four of eight attempts as JaVale McGee got transition points off dunks and tip ins.

That could be the story for the Lakers till the season comes to a close and management makes good on reported promises to sign another star player to aid James and the team’s quest for a 17th title it so badly wants. The Lakers aren’t built to contend for a title just yet; that is likely to happen in the near future as Golden State Warriors grip loosens due to advanced ages, staleness and player loss with multiple potential free agents on the roster.

On a personal level, LeBron is likely to miss out another Most Valuable Player (MVP) Award should matters carry on the way they are which is very likely for a good stretch this season. Minnesota Timberwolves troubles with Forward Jimmy Butler gives Los Angeles a big chance to take the eighth playoff spot in the Western Conference but that wont be enough to get him a fifth MVP title.

In the never ending debate about who is the greatest player ever, those achievements matter a lot if James is going to be picked ahead of Michael Jordan as the best of all time. Jordan won five MVP titles meaning LeBron is just a title short unlike the trophy count where he trails by three. The number of losses and a likely lower seed reduces James chances of winning the Maurice Podoloff Trophy.

2017 NBA most Valuable Player Russell Westbrook.

But James fans will have faith in the prospect of a fifth MVP title for LeBron looking at Russell Westbrook’s MVP winning campaigns in a couple of seasons ago. Westbrook’s Oklahoma City Thunder finished in sixth place scrapping into the playoffs but Lebron’s situation differs from Westbrook’s. Ending a five year playoff less run with the Lakers is a good story line but for a player like Lebron, that is a mere expectation bound to happen.

For Westbrook, he pulled off a legendary campaign to register a triple double through the entire season with a roster not cut for the Western Conference playoffs. For James to make a similar impact, it is sure to come later in his stay in Tinsel town. James signed a four year, $154 million contract and with management handing several one year deals mainly to players, the stage is set to have another stellar name join LeBron. With Warriors core still in good condition, Utah Jazz, New Orleans Pelicans and Houston Rockets ready to usurp them should Golden State slip, James MVP award season could play out during the entirety of his contract. LA Lakers have a dozen veteran players with the remaining spots occupied by first and second year players.


The growing pains young players experience will be placed in front of Lebron’s mighty feet. Contenders Anthony Davis, Kawhi Leonard, Giannis Antetokounmpo and James Harden have started the campaign strongly with better team records to back them up putting the biggest athlete in the sport’s production in the shade.

By Yaw Adjei-Mintah
@YawMintYM on Twitter


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