Versatility is the of the game in the modern NBA, and fortunately for the Los Angeles Lakers, they have LeBron James.
James is one of the most complete players in history as he has shown an ability to play every position. James started as a small forward but has spent time as a full-time point guard and backup center.
While the star will always act as a pseudo point guard whenever he is playing, James said during his end-of-the-year exit interview that the important thing is being able to help his team win games. “It doesn’t matter for me personally. My personal goal is to be able to play any position on the floor.
“Every game is different. Matchups is different at times, so to be able to have the availability to our team that I can switch off and play center for minutes or point guard for minutes or play the wing spot for minutes, according to what the game dictates or needs. That’s for me to make sure that I’m equipped and I’m in the best possible shape I can be in to help us win ball games.”
While there might be some concerns about James spending more time at center, he downplayed the toll and detailed the differences between playing on the perimeter and in the paint.
“I’m sitting here saying want to get to the free throw line more, so me worried about physical taxing is definitely not something that I want to think about. But I think the only difference is I think playing on the perimeter and playing the five, you do a lot more rolling, you do a lot more rim running from baseline to baseline, things of that nature, things that you see more natural fives do. You’re running a lot more pick-and-rolls, so I think that would be the only difference, you’re playing in the paint a lot more than being on the perimeter.
“But I have the luxury of because I can do things on the perimeter as well, to be able to float as well, either picking-and-rolling, or if I see a big guarding me and he’s in a deep drop then I have to pop and shoot the ball from the outside. So I can mix it up, I’m not just a regular five-man, I’m a hybrid. I can do whatever needs to be done.”
The Lakers may have stumbled on something during the 2021-22 season when they went small with James, so perhaps there was some credence to the star’s claim that it was not a complete failure. Entering Year 20, James shows no signs of slowing down which is good news for Los Angeles, who will need him at his best to get back to the top.
LeBron James wants to earn more free throws
For someone as physical as James, he did not seem to earn as many calls during the season. To that end, James said one thing he wants to improve on is his ability to get to the free throw line.
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