Carmelo Anthony accepts the Lakers-Buccaneers comparison

LOS ANGELES — Before the Lakers had even held an official practice this season, let alone played a game, LeBron James told his teammates they reminded him of another veteran group led by an aging legend: the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from Los Angeles. Tom Brady.

The Brady Bucs lost their first game together in the quarterback’s first season away from the New England Patriots and were 7-5 overall before they caught fire. After winning its last four games of the regular season, Tampa Bay was 4-0 in the postseason, culminating in a 31-9 victory in Super Bowl LV over favorites Kansas City Chiefs.

James believed the Lakers, who traded Russell Westbrook in the offseason and added a handful of accomplished veterans like Carmelo Anthony, Dwight Howard, DeAndre Jordan and Trevor Ariza to the mix, would be in for a similar ride.

During a voluntary player-hosted minicamp in Las Vegas in September, James shared the prediction with his new teammates.

Anthony, after the Lakers’ practice on Tuesday, said it was a fitting comparison.

“Just from the point of view of starting out slow and having new guys on the team. New system. Guys trying to figure it out, guys trying to figure out how to play with LeBron and [Anthony Davis] and now bringing in Russ and now everyone figuring out what their role is, “he told reporters in a video conference.” And what made him beautiful for the Bucs is that once he joined, he joined and you saw what happened to that”.

The Lakers reached the middle of the season Sunday when they lost 127-119 to the Memphis Grizzlies in a game in which they trailed as many as 29 points. At 21-20, LA is currently the No. 7 seed in the Western Conference.

“It was just preparing for whatever happens, whatever comes next,” Anthony said. “I think we were, I don’t want to say prepared for those moments [difíciles] and those moments mentally and emotionally, but yeah, those were conversations that were happening. “

Lakers backup guard Wayne Ellington said James’ Tampa Bay example has been something he has relied on for confidence as the Lakers have taken his bundles.

“Everybody was like, ‘Oh no!’ And suddenly, [los Buccaneers] they took a step at the right time. They ended up winning everything, “Ellington said.” And that’s one of the things I always come back to, when you see how our season is going so far. And stay positive and professional, man.”

“Understand that this can turn in the right direction quite quickly for us.”

LA has a relatively easy week with just two games on the schedule: in Sacramento on Wednesday and in Denver on Friday.

It will give Davis (sprained MCL in left knee) and Kendrick Nunn (bruised right knee bone) more time to continue rehab without missing as much game action.

The Lakers are expected to release an update on Davis’ injury on Friday, which will mark four weeks since he was injured when Minnesota’s Jaden McDaniels fell on him. Nunn, who has missed the entire season, is expected to return to the lineup before the end of January, sources told ESPN.

In a matter of weeks, the Lakers could be completely healthy for the first time all season, with two and a half months before the postseason to build a run, just as the Bucs did.

“It’s a great comparison. It’s something we look forward to. We heard it, we heard it. It’s a great comparison,” Anthony said. “I don’t think it’s something we think about on a daily basis. We just have some kind of analogy to compare it to, and what better team and what better situation to compare it than what the Bucs did last year?”