The NBA season starts in less than a week, but there are still some symbolically important preseason games to play. On Wednesday, the Golden State Warriors will get their first look at the LeBron James version of the Los Angeles Lakers, and at least one Warriors player is pretty excited.
Klay Thompson is ready for LeBron’s Lakers
The Warriors’ Klay Thompson is a Los Angeles native, and his father played for the Lakers. And being on the Warriors hasn’t stopped him from being excited to see LeBron on the Lakers, and understanding what that means for the team and the city. From ESPN:
“I think it’s pretty cool,” Thompson said of seeing James in a Lakers jersey. “I don’t think you would have guessed it when he was with the Cavs when he started his rookie season, but it’s adding a ton of interest in the league, and the Lakers are about to get the usual media coverage that I was used to growing up.”
But it’s about a lot more than just the media coverage. Thompson knows that having one of the best players on the planet in their division will inspire him and his teammates:
“Well, the times we’ve seen him he’s always been at the top of the East during the Finals,” Thompson said. “And those games are always intense. I expect him to greatly improve the Lakers and they’ve obviously got a bunch of guys who are proven now. So I just expect it to be intense. Any time you play against arguably the best player in the world, no matter what sport, you want to measure yourself against him so you play as hard as you can, and that’s why guys like Steph [Curry], KD [Kevin Durant], Kobe [Bryant], LeBron, James Harden, any [top] guys face their opponent’s best game every night, so it will be no different when we play the Lakers.”
Steve Kerr is ready for a new rivalry
The Warriors and Lakers haven’t even played a game against each other yet, but Warriors coach Steve Kerr told ESPN that he’s ready for LeBron to make their division a whole lot more interesting.
“This is probably the first time it’s lined up […] I’m sure the Lakers never really looked at it as a rivalry all those years when they were dominating, but this will be fun. We’re in the same division, obviously both teams have a lot of talent and the atmosphere is going to be great. Even in the preseason, I think people are going to be really looking forward to it.”
LeBron has said repeatedly that he based his decision to sign with the Lakers on his family. But if some small part of him did it because he would get to face the Warriors a lot more, no one could blame him. A rivalry between a Southern California team and a Northern California team is natural, but when you add the most dominant player in the NBA to one team, and the other team has put together a dynasty that shows no sign of slowing, “bonkers” is one of the gentler words you could use to describe it.
How will the teams look when they play against each other for the first time? Are both teams really ready for a new rivalry? No one will have to wait long to find out. The Warriors and Lakers face each other on Wednesday night and Friday night, their last two preseason games before the regular season comes alive.
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