LeBron James: Lakers Can’t Lose Track Of Nuggets’ Michael Porter Jr.
Michael Porter Jr., LeBron James, Lakers, Nuggets
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers are in full preparation mode for their first round playoff series with the Denver Nuggets. Of course most of the attention will go towards the stars in the series like LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray, but it’s the role players who could very likely decide this series.

For the Nuggets, their most crucial role player is Michael Porter Jr. as he is a big-time scorer who is capable of getting scorching hot at any moment. And LeBron understands that if the Lakers plan on pulling off the upset on the defending champs, keeping Porter in check is a must.

“You got to get to him. He’s a hell of a player, hell of a shooter,” James said after practice on Thursday. “When he’s on his A+ game, they’re damn near impossible to beat. You already have to account for Joker and Murray, so you just got to keep your head on a swivel, know where he’s at at all times on the offensive end, don’t give him no air space. And they’re still gonna make some of those.

“The kid is 6’9” and he shoots at the top of his jump, high release. But it’s the open ones, it’s the ones in transition, it’s the ones where you lose contact that in order for you to win a ballgame, can’t happen.”

The Lakers are very familiar with what Porter brings to the table. In last year’s Western Conference Finals, the Nuggets’ wing averaged 15 points while knocking down 42.4% from 3-point range. As LeBron noted, he’s going to make some shots regardless, but the defense must be keyed in on him and not lose sight as Jokic will find him.

There will be a lot of factors that decide who ultimately wins this series and LeBron and the Lakers understand that if the other guys on Denver get going they have no chance. So hopefully they are locked in on that defensive game plan and don’t let Porter be a game-changer.

Lakers’ LeBron James explains what makes Nuggets star Nikola Jokic so ‘dynamic’

Of course when talking about the Nuggets everything begins with their superstar Nikola Jokic, who is widely considered the best player in the NBA today. What separates Jokic is his unreal court vision and passing ability, and when talking about the Nuggets star, LeBron James noted that Jokic’s ability to score whenever he wants makes his passing even more effective.

“When you have the ability to score at will, it makes your passing even more dynamic,” LeBron said. “We’ve had great passers in our league history. We’ve had great guys that are very unselfish. But if that’s all you can do, then teams can try to force you to score and kind of take that away.

“Guys like Luka, Magic in his prime, Joker, myself, if you try to take away our passing, we can still be effective. That’s what makes us so dynamic.”

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