LeBron James joined the Los Angeles Lakers on a four-year deal last summer but it was not a successful debut campaign in the purple and gold for the three-time NBA champion. The 15-time All-Star arrival was expected to be the beginning of a new era for the Lakers, but he was unable to carry them back to the playoffs, which brought his run of making eight straight finals to an end.

The Lakers looked like playoff contenders until Christmas in 2018 but an injury to James that saw him miss 23 games ended any chance they had to make the post-season for the first time in five seasons. Even upon his return, they were unable to turn their form around and struggled to a 10th place finish in the Western Conference with a 37-45 record.

James even failed to make the All-NBA first team and had to settle for a place in the All-NBA third team, which the small forward is not accustomed to at least in recent years. He is widely considered the greatest player of the current generation, but at the moment he was not even regarded among the top five in the league.

However, his former Cleveland Cavaliers teammate Richard Jefferson is certain that James will be back with a vengeance during the 2019-20 campaign and will again climb to top the list of the best players in the league. He believes Lakers’ new addition Anthony Davis will help him get back to his dominant self on the court again.

LeBron James
LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers stands for the national anthem prior to the game against the Washington Wizards at Staples Center in Los Angeles, March 26, 2019. Yong Teck Lim/Getty Images

"LeBron James will be the best player in basketball again," Jefferson said on “Get Up”, as quoted on Complex. "Now, will he be the LeBron James from ’08, chasing down blocks–no. But he is going to do so many different things. And with Kyle Kuzma and Anthony Davis on his team, he’s going to be able to be that dominant guy again."

The media was quick to write off James after his first season struggles with the Lakers with many suggesting that the three-time NBA champion is past his best and was on the decline. Jefferson revealed that James is aware of all the “disrespect” he has been getting and is highly motivated to prove people wrong during the upcoming campaign.

"I think he understands the disrespect. He’s felt it over the course of his career at different levels. Now, it’s you’re old, you had your first injury. Now you’re not that guy anymore," Jefferson continued. "But I think really and truly, he’s more focused on proving to people that basketball is the most important thing to him. And the only way to do that is to go and destroy as many people as possible."