LeBron James Says Playing with Young Guys Takes Patience, Praises Luke Walton

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistSeptember 26, 2018

Los Angeles Lakers' LeBron James fields questions during media day at the NBA basketball team's practice facility Monday, Sept. 24, 2018, in El Segundo, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James understands patience will be required as he plays alongside the franchise's core of young playmakers in his first season in the Western Conference. 

"I got to bring in the approach I get from home," James said, per Dave McMenamin of ESPN.com. "When you have three kids, you have to be patient. I'm not calling these guys kids; they're young men here, and some of these men have families as well. But you learn that you have to be patient and you have to gauge everyone individually very different to get the most out of them."

Tuesday marked the Lakers' first practice with James, and McMenamin noted it was head coach Luke Walton and not the four-time MVP who initially addressed the rest of the team. That stands in contrast to 2014 when James and not coach David Blatt "set the tone on Day 1" upon his return to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

"It was all Luke today, man," James said. "Luke and the coaching staff had a great first practice."

James will be playing with a number of talented young pieces the Lakers accumulated during their rebuilding stage before he joined them this offseason.

Lonzo Ball—who didn't practice Tuesday following July knee surgery—Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma and Josh Hart all have a bright future and provided optimism for Los Angeles even before James took his talents to the West Coast. However, their learning curve has now been accelerated since Los Angeles figures to be a contender with James.

After all, he reached the last eight NBA Finals as a member of the Miami Heat and Cavaliers and surely has his eyes on restoring the Purple and Gold to glory.

Los Angeles has goals beyond just reaching the playoffs for the first time since the 2012-13 campaign, but James' focus on patience in the first practice stands out. The Lakers may need to be patient and wait another season or two before they can truly challenge for the Larry O'Brien Trophy as long as the juggernaut Golden State Warriors are together running the Western Conference.

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