Los Angeles Lakers: Quinn Cook contends LeBron James will be same beast when league returns

Los Angeles Lakers guard Quinn Cook has faith that teammate LeBron James will be in tip-top shape when basketball resumes.

Given that it is now June, it is getting closer to three months without a glimpse of Los Angeles Lakers basketball. It does not require a collection of geniuses to discern how long of a period that is.

Yes, there have been occasional replays of games broadcasted on ESPN. Certain moments, such as when Kobe Bryant netted 60 points in his final NBA game, will never get old. They impart an indescribable amount of nostalgia to the senses.

Nevertheless, the times remain rather uncertain and the pandemic is a glaring issue that is not going to evaporate into thin air anytime soon. The uncertainty cannot be emphasized strongly enough, and it sheds light on why leagues like the NBA have remained cautious.

Indubitably, exercising caution remains the best course of action to take. The health and well-being of individuals trumps sports any day of the week.

Even supposing that truth, life without basketball (and sports in general) has been tremendously tortuous for many. For many folks the catchy colloquialism “ball is life” rings true so to be without hoops is an unexplainable feeling.

Fortunately, there may finally be a light at the end of the tunnel as the saying is woven. The NBA’s current goal is to kick the season into high gear again on the target date of July 31.

Certainly, it does not necessarily mean the season will for sure resume on the day in question. There are still hurdles to clear and an agreement between the league and its player would have to be reached. Regardless of that, though, it at least gives fans a sliver of hope that basketball may be back this summer.

Innumerable questions are still lurking in the shadows even with there being a projected date of return. One of the areas of concern is whether teams would have enough time to practice together before then due to the stiff restrictions.

Per an NBA.com report (originally via Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press), teams whose practice facilities are open can only have so many people there at once. The maximum number of players permitted in a facility at the same time is four and they must remain isolated from one another.

Other obstacles exist, too, but player readiness is an issue that is too significant to ignore. It has been a prolonged period of time since teams have been together, so performance upon return may not be crisp at first.

LeBron James is going to be ready.

Despite the lapse, Lakers’ guard Quinn Cook is trying to stay as optimistic as possible. In fact, Cook firmly believes a fellow teammate of his will be completely ready once the season restarts.

During a recent interview with Paolo Uggetti of The Ringer (per transcription from Christian Rivas of Silver Screen & Roll), Cook argued that LeBron James will storm back and be the same beast he was all year long. Cook lauded James’ work ethic in the process and said that it could be advantageous for the team.

LeBron has been pretty active showing his workouts on social media. How do you feel like he’s going to come back?

I know LeBron’s going to come back and not miss a beat. I know how hard he works. I know how disciplined he is. That’s just how he is as a worker. He has to lead by example, so I know he’s working smart, working hard over this break. I know he’s going to set the tone for us early when we all get back together.

While no one knows what will exactly happen, Cook raises valid points about James. Throughout his storied NBA career, LeBron has consistently made a valiant effort to be in excellent shape. He prides himself on it akin to how Kobe was in his heyday.

Notwithstanding the discrepancy of last season, there is a reason as to why James has been so durable throughout his 17 years of service. He puts in the time and effort behind the scenes and it shows.

His hard work translated itself during the entirety of the 2019-20 campaign, and the three-time champion was easily one of the frontrunners for the MVP. Sure, it helps when you have a guy like Anthony Davis on your side that you can dish a few assists to every night.

However, it is still amazing that James was averaging a double-double in points and assists whilst still grabbing about eight boards a game. Numbers like that do not just magically happen.

Before the hiatus took shape, James looked incredibly determined. This year, in general, had a much different feel to it than Lakers’ fans have felt in quite some time. On the one hand, getting a lot of victories will naturally cause streams of positivity.

One could contend James was the primary reason for a fair amount of those “W’s,” though, due to his spectacular all-around play. The small forward was also playing much better defense than he ever did last year for Los Angeles, which is another testament to his desire to stay in shape.

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The man was really on a mission all season long. Fans did not get to see as much of LeBron as they wanted to in 2018-19, and the Lakers missed the playoffs for a sixth consecutive season. It was disappointing.

It is clear that the Ohio native did not want history to repeat itself during round two. He was not going to accept another losing season. James was playing like he was still worthy of being called the best player in the game this season. That says a lot considering he is now 35 years of age.

Until further notice, however, age is just a number when it comes to LeBron James. It is beyond palpable he is still capable of performing at an insane level night in and night out.

The 6-foot-9 baller thoroughly proved that in the 60 games he suited up for. It is fair to suspect his work ethic had something to do with that let alone his otherworldly strength and athleticism.

LeBron James definitely possesses the latter and there was no doubt about it when he was a teenager just entering the league. However, gifts like that can only go so far sometimes and LBJ has clearly maximized them through a little bit of elbow grease along the way.

One can only hope Cook is correct about LeBron once basketball returns. The Lakers were the top seed in the West before the pandemic put an abrupt halt to the season. LeBron James was the biggest contributor to their success before all of this, and the purple and gold will need more of the same to achieve the ultimate prize.