According to Yahoo’s Chris Haynes, the Los Angeles Lakers will move LeBron James to their starting point guard position for next season.
In an era of positionless basketball, James has been one of the most versatile players in the NBA. For example, the 6-foot-8, four-time MVP even started at center for his squad in the All-Star Game back in February 2019. While he might be built to play forward, his IQ of the game can allow him to be a truly elite playmaker running the offense for any team.
Among all players in the league, James had the sixth-highest usage rate and eighth-most touches per game last season. He ranked No. 2 overall with 16.2 potential assists per game. That allows their starting lineup to look something like this:
PG: LeBron James
SG: Danny Green
SF: Kyle Kuzma, Avery Bradley or Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
PF: Anthony Davis
C: DeMarcus Cousins or JaVale McGee
As always, there are still remaining questions surrounding what the starting lineup will look like for Los Angeles next season.
But the front office made a big investment in signing Green to a two-year deal for $30 million. The two-time NBA champion will be a wonderful 3-and-D option. Green actually led all shooting guards in ESPN’s Real Plus-Minus last season.
Perhaps the biggest impact felt from James moving from frontcourt to the backcourt is that Kuzma is now a logical starter. He was considered to be intangible to their core during trade negotiations despite previously playing the same position as James. However, he could make the biggest difference as a volume scorer off the bench.
It is possible that for defensive reasons, then, either Kentavious Caldwell-Pope or Avery Bradley get the starting nod with Kuzma leading the second unit.
Davis will likely start at power forward, especially considering he has been vocally against playing center in the past. Arguably the biggest unsolved issue then is what the health of Cousins might be after a rough couple years of injuries.
Especially if he is fully ready for the upcoming campaign, it might actually make more sense for the Lakers to bring the big man off the bench. He could provide a scoring punch with far greater opportunity in the second-unit than he would in the starting lineup, where James and Davis will both require high usage rates.
Defensively speaking, veteran big man JaVale McGee offers more to his team as a rim protector than Cousins does at this point in his career. He may not average more than twenty minutes on the floor but when the game begins, McGee is arguably their best option as a defensive presence.
Basketball, DunkWire, Free Agency, Lakers, NBA, Alex Caruso, Anthony Davis, Avery Bradley, Caldwell-Pope, Danny Green, DeMarcus Cousins, Jared Dudley, JaVale McGee, Kentavious, Kyle Kuzma, LeBron James, Quinn Cook, Rajon Rondo, Talen Horton-Tucker, Troy Daniels, Zach Norvell, Los Angeles Lakers