LeBron James’ Playmaking Unleashes Dangerous Lakers Offense

LeBron James

Getty LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers dribbles upcourt during the first half of a game against the Golden State Warriors.

Leading the way offensively for the Lakers in their preseason rout of the Warriors, LeBron James posted a gaudy stat line of 18 points, 11 assists, and four rebounds. With Rondo sitting out, the offense essentially ran through James non-stop during his 30 minutes on the court. With a real chance to average double-digit assists for the first time in his career, an even more pass-happy LeBron could prove to be one of the most dangerous versions that we’ve seen yet.

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LeBron James’ Playmaking Unleashes Dangerous Lakers Offense

Over the offseason, head coach Frank Vogel made it a point to repeatedly iterate how he felt James was the premier drive and kick player in NBA history. With established shooters now helping to space the floor and excellent pick and roll partners in Davis and McGee, James has a versatile arsenal of weapons at his disposal should defenses choose to send help when he attacks the rim.

We’ve seen James’ three-point numbers dip but he’s scoring at an insanely efficient clip. The improved floor spacing is allowing him to get to the rim at will and more effectively create open looks for his fellow teammates. This is good news as James settling for three-pointers is usually a bad sign for his teams. James is at his most dangerous when attacking the basket and the fewer threes he takes, the more times he was effectively able to penetrate the defense and do what he does best.

James’ unselfish play leads to an even distribution of shots, with all starters taking somewhere between six and nine shots. His ability to gladly take whatever the defense gives him was fully on display and the improved scoring surrounding LeBron was allowed to shine with heaps of wide-open looks. This iteration of the Warriors is far from a good indicator of where the team is at but at the very least, the offense seems much better suited to LeBron’s strengths as a player.

Lakers Shoot Lights Out From Three-Point Range

On the back of a herculean xxx% night from deep, the Lakers were able to gauge the Warriors with a dangerous balanced attack. Seeing strong nights from big men like Anthony Davis, Dwight Howard, and JaVale Mcgee, the Lakers’ ability to consistently hit the three-ball forced the Warriors to avoid committing to stopping one or the other.

While this type of shooting night won’t be a consistent theme throughout the season, the fact remains that this was a caliber of performance that last year’s bunch wasn’t capable of in their wildest dreams. With Lance Stephenson functioning as the Lakers’ top three-point shooter at 37%, the Lakers were comically bad and clanked an incredible amount of wide-open looks – many created by James. At the very least, the Lakers’ offense should be considerably more efficient from deep compared to last year’s unit, which only means more capable mouths for James to feed.