With LeBron James’ career inevitably winding down, and the Los Angeles Lakers missing out on the postseason, all eyes were on Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks as the Cinderella story of the Western Conference.
Doncic ended up putting in some historic-level performances as he helped his team to the Western Conference finals and began to draw comparisons with LeBron as a result. However, those comparisons didn’t sit right with some NBA fans and media members, especially as there are clear differences in their styles of play, even if that’s not what the box score tells you.
Nobody has verbalized their frustrations on Doncic being compared with LeBron more succinctly than Colin Cowherd, who recently went on a rant about the subject.
“LeBron’s game is about elevating others. In fact, the knock on LeBron early was that he doesn’t want to take the shot. That’s the opposite of Luka. Luka has got flaws but he’s going to take the shot. He’ll pass to others, but he’s going to be the scorer. That’s Carmelo’s game, that’s Harden’s game, that was Kobe’s game mostly, but that’s not LeBron’s. LeBron’s more like Magic (Johnson). He can give you 40 but LeBron wants to elevate others,” Cowherd said on a recent episode of The Herd.
Still, Doncic is clearly one of the most talented young players in the league and still has multiple years to continue developing his craft before entering his prime. To be compared with LeBron due to your post-season performances is nothing other than a compliment, and it’s a fair one at that.
Lakers Finally Select a New Head Coach
Since firing Frank Vogel at the end of the regular season, the Lakers have been diligently looking for his replacement. On Friday, May 27, the Lakers finally ended their coaching search and announced Darvin Ham as their new head coach.
After initially announcing a three-man shortlist that also contained Kenny Atkinson and Terry Stotts, it would seem that Ham was the candidate that impressed the front office the most. In fact, according to a recent report by Bill Oram of The Athletic, Ham’s deep understanding of X’s and O’s is what sold the front office on him being the right candidate for the job.
“Sources said he blew the Lakers away with his understanding of X’s and O’s,” Oram wrote in a recent article. Of course, it remains to be seen if Ham can translate that knowledge into wins on the hardwood, but given the success of Ime Udoka and the Boston Celtics, it makes sense the Lakers would throw their chips behind a highly respected assistant coach.
Westbrook is Ham’s First Major Decision
Now that Ham is in the Lakers’ hot seat, he can begin working on his plan to return them back to the top of the Western Conference, and that all begins with making a decision on Russell Westbrook’s future with the franchise.
The front office has remained steadfast in their stance that they’ll wait to make a coaching appointment before deciding on whether or not to trade Westbrook, likely because they want to get their new coach’s input.
With free agency right around the corner, Ham won’t have long to decide if Westbrook fits into his plans for the upcoming season. Of course, if he decides to keep the All-Star guard around, the focus will quickly switch to finding the floor spacers the team was sorely missing throughout this current season, albeit with limited cap space to make a significant splash.