LeBron James is already dominating Lakers practices, and Magic Johnson says there's an extra benefit to it

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  • LeBron James is practicing with his new Los Angeles Lakers teammates and already dominating.
  • Lakers GM Rob Pelinka said James threw an incredible pass in a scrimmage that a teammate dropped, and Magic Johnson said James hit a game-winner in practice after faking out a teammate.
  • Johnson told reporters that the Lakers’ young players would benefit from practicing and playing with James.

With the NBA season around the corner, LeBron James is in the gym with the new Los Angeles Lakers and already making an impression.

Team president Magic Johnson told reporters on Thursday that during a scrimmage, James hit a game-winning shot over second-year forward Kyle Kuzma that everyone could see coming and nobody could stop.

“It was game-point. So, LeBron got it, and we saw him saying, ‘Oh, I’m about to take Kuz, I’m gonna get to my spot, and then I’m gonna launch this three-point right in his face,'” Johnson said. “Sure enough, he came down, gave a little fake.

“And then [GM] Rob [Pelinka], ‘Why’d you go for the fake?'” Johnson said Kuzma just shrugged. “He didn’t know what to do. And LeBron just pulled it. All net.”

But according to Johnson, this type of play is good for the young Lakers players who will be so crucial to the team’s season.

“That’s the greatness of LeBron, and he’s going to, again, rub off on a Kuzma. When you play against him every single day, you get better.”

It’s not the first anecdote we’ve heard about James catching his teammates off-guard with his greatness. Pelinka told a story last week about James throwing a whirling, no-look pass in a scrimmage that was so unexpected, an open teammate under the basket failed to catch it. On his way up the floor, James warned the player that he better be ready to catch passes or those passes will break his nose.

There will be a learning curve for players to get used to playing with James, but, as Johnson said, over time, they will get better. James not only can set teammates up for better shots but by playing with him, they can pick up some of his tendencies and tricks, applying it to their games.

The Lakers offseason featured some free-agent signings that baffled the NBA world, but the key to their season may be the young core they have in place in Kuzma, Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, and Josh Hart. The longer those young players play with James, the better they may get, potentially bringing the Lakers team to a new level.

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