Carmelo Anthony: LeBron James Predicted Lakers Would Be Similar to 2020 Bucccaneers

Doric SamJanuary 12, 2022

LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 7: LeBron James #6 hi-fives Carmelo Anthony #7 of the Los Angeles Lakers during the game against the Atlanta Hawks on January 7, 2022 at Crypto.Com Arena in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2021 NBAE (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images

Coming into the season, the Los Angeles Lakers were viewed as a team that is built for the playoffs.

Knowing this, star forward LeBron James acknowledged that the Lakers would likely be in for some early-season struggles. In a conversation with Los Angeles forward Carmelo Anthony in training camp, James likened the situation to the 2020 Tampa Bay Buccaneers team that went on to win the Super Bowl after a slow start to their season.

"Just from the standpoint of starting off slow and having new guys on the team. New system. ... And what made it beautiful for the Bucs is that once it came together, it came together and you saw what happened with that," Anthony told reporters on Tuesday, per ESPN's Dave McMenamin.

James made his prediction because of all the new pieces the Lakers added in the offseason. Los Angeles traded for star point guard Russell Westbrook and added a slew of veterans in Anthony, Dwight Howard, DeAndre Jordan and Trevor Ariza.

At the midway point of the season, James' premonition has come to fruition. The Lakers are 21-20 and are coming off a loss to the Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday in which they trailed by as many as 29 points.

Despite being in seventh place in the Western Conference, Anthony said the Lakers aren't panicking because they were ready to face the early-season woes.

"It was just kind of preparing ourselves for whatever happens, whatever comes along," Anthony said. "I think we were, I don't want to say prepared for those [difficult] moments and those times mentally and emotionally, but yeah, those were conversations that were happening."

Los Angeles has been without Davis for nearly four weeks as he recovers from a sprained MCL. The team is expected to provide an update on his status on Friday.

While the team isn't at full strength, Anthony said the comparison to the Buccaneers gives them a reason to stay optimistic about the season's outlook.

"I don't think it's something that we think about on a daily basis," he said. "We just have some type of analogy to compare it to, and what better team and what better situation to compare it to than what the Bucs did last year?"