Darvin Ham Credits Lakers’ Depth For Allowing LeBron James To Conserve Energy
LeBron James, Lakers
Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports

While much of the focus for the Los Angeles Lakers this past week has been on Anthony Davis, and rightfully so, the team is slowly working LeBron James back in the flow with this upgraded roster and it is progressing very well. In fact, lost in the shuffle of Davis’ 40-point night against the Rockets is that LeBron posted a triple-double as well.

James finished with 18 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists with just one turnover in the Lakers’ 25-point win, but it was barely even spoken about. Thanks to Davis’ outstanding night, Rui Hachimura finishing with a double-double himself, and Austin Reaves having another great performance, there was plenty of praise to go around for Darvin Ham’s team.

And it is that depth that has allowed LeBron to get his legs back under him since making his return. Ham noted that having players who can step up in different facets of the game has allowed James to save his energy and pick and choose where he affects the game, via Spectrum SportsNet:

“I think just when you have guys that’s able to take over certain segments of the game it allows him to save some of his bullets so to speak, to save his energy. Not that he’s not playing hard, but we’re not dependent on him for every single thing. He can just sit back, play the game the right way as he always does, pick apart the defense whether it’s a rebound, whether it’s a pass or a hockey assist, the pass to set up the scoring pass. The reads and I just think everybody that we’ve acquired, again the high IQ that’s in that locker room, the pieces that fit so perfectly around LeBron and A[nthony Davis], you’re seeing that.

“He had a triple-double tonight and it was like, effortless. Not forcing anything, not having to play him a crazy ton of minutes is a testament to how deep we are now and different guys being able to step up. From Rui, to Austin, to Malik, having those guys outside of A and Bron to be able to step up and take control. And those two, they’re our captains, they’re our big dogs, but they’re encouraging these guys to be aggressive and make plays as well so everybody’s sharing the load.”

James has spoken to this himself, noting how he is able to adjust his game depending on what the team needs that night. If he needs to score more he can, if he needs to create for others he can do that as well and against Houston it was more of a playmaking game for him.

Ham noting that James and Davis are encouraging those role players to be aggressive is also important as well. Someone like Austin Reaves who had become a more prominent playmaker in LeBron’s absence is still able to make that impact and it allows James to relax on some possessions. This way, when the game is close down the stretch, LeBron and Davis have enough left in the tank to carry this team over the finish line to a victory.

LeBron James says he focused more on playmaking in Lakers win over Rockets

This is huge for James as at different points over the past couple of seasons he has been needed to do just about everything on some nights in order for the Lakers to get a win. But with the make up of this team, he is now able to pick and choose where his focus lies.

LeBron spoke after the Rockets game, noting that this contest in particular required him to be more of a playmaker, especially with D’Angelo Russell sitting out the second half. But he did make it clear that if his scoring is needed, he can step up there as well.

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