LeBron James is still adjusting to life in LA, after having played 5 long seasons in Cleveland.
A different ideology, a different city and most importantly a different set of players need some adaptation, even if you are the best player in the world.
A lot of how Lakers were going to play this season was going to be about LeBron. But it was down to the management to decide how they would really want to use James.
Do they run every play through him or do they try and spread the floor, take the burden away from the big guy and let him shine during clutch situations.
Well, the Lakers went in with the ‘taking away the burden from LeBron’ plan initially, one that didn’t quite work, as LeBron was finding himself a little isolated on court and wasn’t really able to drive possession.
An injury to Rondo meant that LeBron started seeing more of the ball, he assumed the role of a guard and started running plays through him.
While it did put a considerable amount of burden on James, it also helped Lakers find their mojo and helped them go on a winning streak.
Now, while Magic Johnson has spoken about how the Lakers are trying not to turn into another Cleveland, it seems as if the Lakers are having to give into the temptation of making it the ‘James show’.
LeBron spoke about this dilemma that the Lakers and he himself needed to address, about either taking over the game or letting the youngsters figure things out on their own.
LeBron James is still figuring out when to take over games and when to defer to his young teammates, for the sake of their growth. Last night, he chose the former. https://t.co/xZVSDRJH7Z
— Tania Ganguli (@taniaganguli) November 30, 2018
Speaking to the media after the Pacers game, LeBron said that the game demanded that he take over, and he did so in the 4th quarter leading the Lakers to a brilliant 104-96 win.
“That’s the challenge I’ve been kind of battling with since the season started,” James said.
— NBA TV (@NBATV) December 1, 2018
“How much do I defer and allow some of our young guys to figure out, and how much do I try to take over games? I think tonight was one of those instances where they looked at me and wanted me to close the game, and I just tried to make plays.” he added.
James added that he knew he wasn’t going to be the one running a lot of plays with so many nice ball handlers in the team, but he wanted people to know that he would be ready to make plays for the team whenever needed.
“I figured I wouldn’t have the ball in my hands as much, coming into the season and knowing the multiple ball-handlers that we have on this team,” James said.
“Those guys have the ability to make plays as well. But I’m available anytime we need a play to be made. It’s a challenge for me, and it’s an adjustment for me, but whatever it takes to help our ballclub be as great as it can be toward the end of the season, and at the same time getting better every day.” he concluded.
Earlier reports had stated that LeBron was probably ignoring coach Luke Walton’s calls and running his own plays. Furthermore, Magic Johnson added that nothing of that sorts was happening and confirmed that the Lakers were one big family.
But in order to win this season, they need to sort this James dilemma quickly. Either get him all in or tell him what his role is; a middle ground doesn’t seem to be the answer.