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#pounditTuesday, November 29, 2022

Lakers teammate defends LeBron James against criticisms

LeBron James looking on

Jan 21, 2022; Orlando, Florida, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (6) against the Orlando Magic during the first quarter at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

One Los Angeles Lakers player is playing harder defense in the offseason than anyone on the team did all year.

Lakers guard Kent Bazemore spoke this week with TMZ Sports and offered a strong defense of teammate LeBron James against the criticisms that James faced this season.

“The dude was third in the league in scoring,” reasoned Bazemore of James. “What else do you want him to do? He put his body through a lot this year to be there for us.

“Dude has done a lot, man,” Bazemore added. “He’s chasing Kareem [Abdul-Jabbar’s all-time scoring record]. He’s done a lot for the game, He’s given a platform to a lot of people. He’s changing the world.”

Bazemore, one of the Lakers’ offseason signings that did not pan out in 2021-22, will be a free agent this summer. Thus, this may be his way of staying in James’ good graces and maximizing his chances of coming back.

From an objective point of view though, James deserved all the criticism he faced this year, especially since the Lakers lost 49 games and missed a 20-team postseason. While James had superb scoring numbers, he also posted his lowest assist numbers in nearly a decade and often froze his teammates out of the offense. James failed to adapt his game to accommodate Russell Westbrook, and his scoring numbers were also inflated by James regularly staying in games late despite the Lakers getting blown out. Bazemore even let slip here that James was chasing Abdul-Jabbar’s record this season.

Additionally, the ex-MVP James often exhibited poor leadership this season. Combine that with the Lakers’ collective struggles as a team, and it seems like totally fair game to point the finger at James for the Lakers’ failures.

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