The Los Angeles Lakers have made it clear that they want to push the pace as much as possible this season. But with LeBron James entering his 16th season, some have wondered whether that is the best strategy as he enters the latter stages of his career.
James’ team’s in Cleveland were usually middle of the pack when it came to pace. While James himself was great in transition, his team was full of mostly specialists who were better in the halfcourt.
With their young core and plethora of playmakers however, the Lakers are the opposite and LeBron recognizes that. He spoke to Chris Haynes of Yahoo! Sports, explaining it would be foolish of the Lakers not to utilize their young legs:
“You see those young legs out there,” James told Yahoo Sports. “We would be stupid not to utilize that as a strength. That’s just good coaching.”
James also clarified what it means to play fast, emphasizing that the Lakers aren’t just rushing into the first shot that comes their way:
“… Playing fast doesn’t mean shooting the first available shot,” James told Yahoo Sports. “We want to speed up the tempo to get a great shot and be under control. That will all come. That’s what the preseason is for.”
So far there have been some positives and negatives in two preseason games as the Lakers continue to get used to each other. James, Rajon Rondo and Brandon Ingram have worked well in continually pushing the pace, though turnovers remain a problem early on in the process.
The speed, versatility, and unselfishness of the Lakers are the team’s biggest strengths and James realizes that is his team’s best chance at success. Everything is still a work in progress for the time being, but the flashes of greatness have been very promising.