The Los Angeles Lakers have little to play for this season.
However, they’re must-watch television just because LeBron James is on the floor.
James is closing in on Kareem Abdul-Jabbar‘s all-time scoring record, putting on a show night in and night out despite his team’s never-ending shortcomings.
He put on a show once again during his 38th birthday, leading his team to a 130-121 win over the Atlanta Hawks with a season-high 47 points, 10 rebounds, 9 assists, 1 block, and 4 three-pointers on 66% from the floor.
That’s why Hawks big man Onyeka Okongwu had no choice but to tip his hat off to The King:
“To me, he’s the greatest of all time,” Okongwu said after the game, per Kevin Chouinard. “Me and John [Collins] being in foul trouble doesn’t help, either. He’s just a physical specimen going downhill. It’s so hard sometimes; you have to foul him. He’s a tough cover. We’ll see him again a week from today.”
Onyeka, on guarding LeBron:
"To me, he's the greatest of all time. Me and John being in foul trouble doesn't help, either. He's just a physical specimen going downhill. It's so hard sometimes; you have to foul him. He's a tough cover. We'll see him again a week from today."
— Kevin Chouinard (@KLChouinard) December 31, 2022
James has been posting these kinds of numbers for two decades straight now, and it will never cease to amaze how he can keep up this offensive production at this age, even if his defense is long gone.
Even so, the Lakers shouldn’t need their 38-player to score 47 points every night just to have a chance to win games.
Their roster is flawed and poorly-built, and the front office is unwilling to upgrade it by giving up any of their first-round picks.
So, let’s appreciate James while we can still watch him, as he’s not likely to play postseason basketball this season.