- LeBron James wants to play more from the post with the Los Angeles Lakers, according to a report.
- A move from the perimeter to the post would be similar to changes Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan made as they got older and lost some of their athleticism.
- James’ move could help explain some of the Lakers’ baffling offseason signings.
The next chapter of LeBron James’ career may look much different than his recent years with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
According to ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne and Brian Windhorst,James, now part of the Los Angeles Lakers, James wants to change his role to play out of the post more than on the perimeter.
At 33, turning 34 in December, James knows his declining athleticism will make it more difficult to play from the perimeter, according to ESPN. Playing in the post would allow James to use his considerable size and strength to bully opponents for easier baskets and find teammates rather than getting a head of steam off the dribble from outside.
As Shelburne and Windhorst noted, the change also evokes one made by Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan, two players who later in their careers moved from the perimeter to the post to make up for their slower first steps.
James has had an on-again-off-again relationship with posting up. He finally took the post while playing with the Miami Heat, sharpening his skills down low to accommodate some spacing challenges in Miami.
In Cleveland, James only played out of the post occasionally, instead doing a significant amount of his work from the perimeter, particularly in the pick-and-roll. Much of that was out of necessity, as in the past year, the Cavaliers traded Kyrie Irving, forcing James to become much more of a playmaker and ball-handler.
According to ESPN, James’ intentions to play more out of the post also help explain some of the Lakers’ baffling moves in free agency. Rather than surround James with shooters, as the Cavs did, the Lakers wanted to sign ball-handlers and defenders who would take some of the burden of creating offence from James. The Lakers still want to add shooters around James in what has proven to be one of the most difficult setups to stop, but they reportedly believe finding shooters is easier than finding playmakers.
If James sticks to the plan – and surely it won’t be a full-on, 100% change – it could allow him to be even more efficient from the field. At the end of games, he may also have the energy to attack off the dribble, something that was obvious toward the end of last season when he tired out.
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