Could there be a divide between the Los Angeles Lakers coaching staff and LeBron James?
The Los Angeles Lakers opened the season with an opening loss to the Denver Nuggets. That’s nothing to be ashamed about but there were a couple of talking points that could be very telling for a Lakers team that is trying to take another step toward a championship this season.
The first internal storyline for the Lakers revolves around LeBron James only played 29 minutes against the Nuggets. After the game, Lakers head coach Darvin Ham said that LeBron’s minutes could remain at that level or even ramp up, but it will depend on how he feels physically. From the outside-looking-in, it does seem as if Ham would like to restrict LeBron’s minutes to a certain extent.
LeBron’s response to only playing 29 minutes in the first game of the season was not all that reassuring:
"“Listen, I mean, I always want to be on the floor. Especially when you got an opportunity to win a game or you feel like you can make an impact. But I guess this is the system in place and I got to follow it.”"
But that’s not the only concerning part of an opening-night loss for the Lakers.
There’s also a video clip making the rounds in which LeBron is informing Ham that he can play the point guard role too on the floor, basically reminding the coaching staff that the lineups in which he’s involved don’t have to be limited by traditional positional fits.
In the video, LeBron is clearly frustrated, stating that he’s basically just “floating” around on the floor. Of course, losing highlights these small issues that could be something that happens to every team around the league.
Especially for LeBron and the Lakers, this is something that is only going to be naturally a bigger story.
The Los Angeles Lakers coaching staff may have a smart plan for LeBron James
It’s easy to see why the Lakers and the coaching staff may be trying to limit LeBron, especially early on in the season. LeBron is going to be 39 years old this season and if the Lakers are going to have any shot to win another title, it’s going to largely rely on LeBron being as close to 100 percent as physically possible by the time the playoffs come around.
At the same time, you also don’t want to turn off LeBron this early in the season.
Time will tell if A) Ham and the Lakers coaching staff stick to this original plan and B) if it ends up working out for the Lakers. If the Lakers win, LeBron probably won’t have an issue with it. However, if the losing begins to stack up, this is when it will blow up even more.
For now, it’s fine. LeBron is smart. He’s going to see things through a bit. However, things can change quickly in the NBA.