Generally speaking, dating back to his tenure with the Miami Heat, LeBron James has not been one to embrace spending a lot of time at power forward. It sounds like that’ll need to change with the Los Angeles Lakers, who, as of now, have plans to roll him out at center in their own version of the “Death Lineup.”
Here’s what one executive with the team told Bleacher Report’s Eric Pincus:
“We may not see this on day one, but the coaching staff is eager to see our version of the [Warriors’] Death Lineup with Lonzo [Ball], Josh Hart, Brandon Ingram, [Kyle] Kuzma and LeBron,” a second Lakers executive said.
Stashing James at center for stretches is more of a necessity than a secret weapon. The Lakers don’t have a lot of bigs on the roster and very few of their wings (2-3-4 guys) have the size or strength to play power forward, let alone center.
But, yeah, it’s also something of a secret weapon. Using LeBron at center has always had a cheat-code vibe. He spent 54 possessions at the 5 last year, during which time the Cleveland Cavaliers posted a offensive rating of 146.3 and net rating of 42.5, according to Cleaning The Glass. He also shot 67.3 percent as the pick-and-roll diver.
Again: We’re trafficking in limited samples. And LeBron has never shown a notable infatuation with playing up a position or two. But if the Lakers can get him to buy into a super-small-ball program, they’re going to be ridiculously better off for it.