LeBron James says new-look Lakers have 'a long way to go' until they can challenge Warriors

In case you somehow haven't heard over the summer, LeBron James is a member of the Los Angeles Lakers. On Monday, he had his first media day with his new team, and was of course asked about the team's expectations for the upcoming season. Specifically, whether or not the Lakers can knock the Warriors off their throne in the Western Conference.  

While James didn't exactly bury his team, he didn't set expectations too high either. Like everyone else who follows the league, James knows the team as currently constructed probably isn't a title contender and is one of many teams chasing Golden State. 

James' full answer, starting at the 8:10 mark:

"We got a long way to go to get to Golden State. They can pick up right where they left off starting with training camp if they start today or whenever they start."

We're picking up from scratch. So we have a long way to go. [...] Hopefully someday, we can put ourselves in a position where we can compete for a championship, as Golden State has done for the last few years."

This is a smart answer from James, and who would have expected anything less from a player who always handles the media well. There's no reason for him to put his team down, and they should certainly be a playoff team given his arrival and their young core. At the same time, there's no reason to start talking crazy and create unrealistic expectations or added pressure. (Hello, Markieff Morris and the Washington Wizards.)

The Lakers are set up well for the future, and if they can add a second star in free agency next summer, perhaps then we can start talking about the Finals and beating the Warriors with some more sincerity. For now, however, it's probably best just to enjoy James' first season in Los Angeles and watch how this team grows under his leadership. 

NBA Writer

Jack Maloney lives and writes in Milwaukee, where, like the Bucks, he is trying to own the future. Full Bio

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