LeBron James much more ‘ALIVE’ since Russell Westbrook got kicked away from Lakers, hints Austin Reaves
Austin Reaves details how LeBron James's play has elevated since trading away Russell Westbrook.
Reaves speaks about LeBron's high level of play (Image via Twitter)
One knows how the Los Angeles Lakers have vastly improved since Russell Westbrook was traded away. All the stats and the run to the Western Conference Finals point to their massive improvement. However, no one from the franchise has ever talked about what a difference it made. Until now.
Austin Reaves, the undrafted guard out of the University of Oklahoma was speaking to reporters during the NBA In-Season Tournament. Reaves was asked how different his illustrious teammate LeBron James‘ play has been this season. He answered by saying;
Everything seems to be just a little bit different. It seems like very much ALIVE. Playing at a super high level for someone playing as long as he has.Austin Reaves to reporters
Austin Reaves gave a firsthand outlook on how James and the Lakers have improved. Their run to the Eastern Conference Finals is a testament to that.
Prior to the trade that sent Russell Westbrook to the Utah Jazz, the Los Angeles Lakers were 25-30. Standing at 13th place in the Eastern Conference, the Lakers were staring at another year of missed playoffs. The team was underperforming just like the previous year with Westbrook where they finished 33-49 and out of the playoffs.
Lakers GM Rob Pelinka traded away Westbrook and brought in players to complement James, Anthony Davis and an emerging Austin Reaves. The result was the best record in the NBA to reach the Play-In tournament. The Lakers went on to trounce teams all the way to the Eastern Conference Finals.
LeBron James and Lakers’ season so far
The Los Angeles Lakers are playing at a high level this season. Despite starting slow, the Lakers have carved up a 14-9 record so far placing them 5th in the Eastern Conference. With elite-level play from their leader LeBron James and enough contributions from the rest of the squad, the Lakers are preparing themselves for another shot at the NBA title.
James is averaging 25 points, 7.5 rebounds and 6.6 assists per game this season. That is the highest points average of any player playing in their 21st season in the league. Reaves has attributed James’ historic season to his attention to health and the finer points of the game.
"This year, everything seems just to be a little different. … This year he seems very much alive."— Ball Don’t Lie (@Balldontlie) December 8, 2023
Austin Reaves on LeBron being an MVP candidate this season 🔥 pic.twitter.com/nhOrQQMgz0
Austin Reaves basically summed up that, if not for Westbrook being traded away, LeBron James and the Lakers would not be playing at this high level. It is evident in their run-up to the In-Season Tournament finals.
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