There are two questions surrounding how the Los Angeles Lakers will use their future Hall of Famer LeBron James during the upcoming season; how much will the team allow their superstar to play, and what position will he play when he is on the court. For King James, the answer is anywhere and everywhere, because, in his words, “I do whatever it takes for us to win. So it doesn’t matter. I’m a ballplayer.”
With backcourt options, Los Angeles Lakers head coach Frank Vogel is hoping to limit the amount of time LeBron James plays as the team’s point guard; thereby lessening The King’s workload during the upcoming season. It is likely Rajon Rondo will handle the ball the bulk of the time when James is playing off the ball, and reports are that both Rondo and James are running “end of game” plays in practice. When it comes to crunch time, however, Vogel says that James will handle the ball because, “that’s been his role throughout his entire career.”
Vogel added that, “He’s (James) going to have the green light to defer at any point throughout the game and throughout the season. It’s as he’s done again throughout his whole career, to be the primary playmaker. If he’s handled three or four straight times and is winded, he can defer and give it to somebody else to bring it up.”
As for what LeBron James believes his position is on the Los Angeles Lakers, his answer is simple, “I do whatever it takes for us to win. So it doesn’t matter. I’m a ballplayer. I’m not a point guard, I’m not a shooting guard, a small forward, power forward or a center. I’m just a ballplayer.
And when asked who should be on the court with him, James replied, “You put me on the floor and I can make things happen with whoever is on the floor.”
LeBron James is likely feeling the best he has felt in years after an offseason that started in March after the Lakers shut him down due to his injury, and after spending time getting into close to the best shape of his life in this his 17th season of NBA action. It will be interesting to see how the team managed the workload of James during the regular season since the balance between earning home court advantage versus keeping an aging, recently injury prone superstar healthy needs to be assessed by the franchise. The coaching staff and front office are likely to try and get LeBron James to rest before he is tired, rather than play and risk an injury as he approaches being fatigued.
This approach by the Purple and Gold is likely to put them at odds with LeBron James, who knows that this year might be his last, best chance to win another NBA title. These are the hand-picked players that King James wanted on his court, so if the Lakers can’t make a title run this year, there may not be another chance next year since the faces will changed, including the chance that Anthony Davis doesn’t want to sign long-term with the team and finds a new home next season.
Will the Los Angeles Lakers sellout in the regular season and make this year their moment? It all depends on his LeBron James or Frank Vogel and the front office are calling the shots; and I think we know that when The King speaks, even the ownership listens. This time, however, it will be to his detriment, not to his championship parade.