A lot is expected of Darvin Ham next year. What kind of system will he implement? What roles will he give to the players? If we are to judge the hints he's been dropping on the biggest question facing the Lakers - the LeBron-Russ dynamic - Laker fans should understand Ham's plan is high-risk, high-reward.
“I kind of want LeBron to run the show”
Ham revealed he wants LeBron James to run the show for the Purple and Gold in his system. James is no stranger to putting a team on his back, as he’s been doing this practically his whole career but is this the right way going forward for the Lakers?
When asked if he would make The King sacrifice his own glory for the benefit of the squad, Ham offered his take on the matter.
“I don’t really know what sacrifice means for LeBron James on this Lakers team because if it means giving the ball up to other people, I’m not sure that’s a good idea. I kind of want LeBron to have the ball basically all the time, every possession, run the show.”
Any coach that parades a LeBron James in his lineup will be bound to rely on his greatness. But does The King still have what it takes to run the show now? Even more importantly - should he?
Why Darvin Ham’s vision should worry the fans
At 37 years old, all James wanted to do was to prolong his career. Expecting him to run the show for the Lakers might be putting too much pressure on his body. Let’s remember he’s chasing more records and a chance to play with or against his son Bronny in the NBA a few years from now. So saying James should handle the ball ”all the time” and create for his teammates is putting LeBron at risk for injuries with extended minutes on the floor.
LeBron doesn’t need to run the show or play 40 minutes per night. Instead, he should be sliding into a mentor or support role right now. But does Darvin Ham have a choice right now? Who could he trust to run the show aside from The King?
Russell Westbrook averaged three turnovers per game last season, slightly lower than James. Brodie was also a below 30% 3-point shooter and amongst the worst players in almost every statistical category relevant to his position and role.
If James is going to be their floor general, his teammates must spread the floor to make space for him to create. But the problem is that the Lakers don’t have enough outside threat, so they could either stay home on James and dare the shooters to beat them. That was the case in several games last season. So unless L.A. signs a respectable and consistent shooter like Buddy Hield, opposing teams would always play zone to limit LeBron’s playmaking.
Ham is choosing James to run the show for the Lakers next season. Let’s just hope it won’t be another version of the early Cleveland Cavaliers teams that relied too much on LeBron. It’s a team game, after all.