Magic Johnson made an interesting announcement about the way Los Angeles Lakers should play in the near future. Magic said the Lakers shouldn’t implement the same style of play that was dominant during LeBron James era with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
This system involves adjustments on the offensive side of the floor since the ball is predominantly in LeBron’s hands where he makes most of the decisions. This system was heavily implemented during his time with the Cavs and even though they made it to the four straight NBA finals, at the end it was characterized as being a flawed system because the ball doesn’t circle around enough and the offense depends on one player way too much.
“We are trying to make sure that we watch his minutes but also that we don’t run everything through him because now it is Cleveland all over again and we don’t want that. “We want to get up and down.”
One of the reasons why James signed with the Lakers this summer was because Magic promised to keep his minutes down as much as he can. LeBron who is currently 33 has a lot of mileage in his legs and is in his 16th NBA season while still having an MVP like season. Magic thinks the Lakers have enough good ballhandlers who could run the offense and therefore reduce LeBron’s engagement running the point so he can focus on doing other things on the floor.
“Basically minutes, trying to make sure we don’t overplay him and then also the usage of the ball in his hands. We got a lot of ballhandlers so we feel we won’t overuse him in terms of his ballhandling and also every play has to run through him. I think we got proven scorers—Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram […] and then when you have two point guards like [Lonzo] Ball and [Rajon] Rondo, we don’t have to have LeBron having the ball in his hands all the time.”
The Lakers definitely have the capacity to make LeBron’s life much easier with an experienced playmaker Rondo on the roster and a young talent like Lonzo Ball. Lance Stephenson is also someone who can create shots for others and himself and can be used in this system to complement both Ball and Rondo.
Lakers also need to figure out how to improve the productiveness of both Kuzma and Ingram when LeBron is on the floor especially if they want to achieve great things on the west. LeBron needs to play off the ball more then he is right now because that could potentially be a winning combination for the Lakers in the long run.