Lakers star LeBron James reveals secret weapon the offseason additions unlocked
The Lakers brought in the likes of Dennis Schroder and Marc Gasol in part to get James off the ball more and take some of the offensive playmaking onus off his shoulders.
LeBron said the additions have allowed him to engage in cutting action, unlocking an element to his game not seen in some time:
“This year, with the addition of Dennis and the addition of Marc, being able to play off the ball, getting back to moving without the ball, cutting,” James said, via Jovan Buha of The Athletic. “Haven’t been able to do that in a few years. So, I can get back to that, using my wide receiver skills as I always like to allude to.”
The quote is interesting because it is somewhat double-sided in nature.
James was L.A.’s traditional point guard last year, but the addition of Schroder has given Lakers head coach Frank Vogel more options in terms of his rotations, including playing LeBron at power forward. Additionally, Gasol’s ability to be a point man spurs some of L.A.’s cutting action and gets the Lakers into their sets.
However, James actually has a higher usage rate so far this season than he did during the 2019-20 campaign, when he led the NBA in assists. He still sees plenty of the ball, whether he uses screens to dive towards the rim or to get positioning in the low post.
Nonetheless, LeBron’s comfort level with Schroder and Gasol on the ball could make the Lakers that much tougher to guard down the line, even if he remains the team’s best playmaking option.