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Podcast: Why the Lakers may need LeBron James to play center

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LeBron James getting minutes at center makes basketball sense for the Lakers, but it’s hard to see him spending lengthy stretches there.

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Cleveland Cavaliers v Sacramento Kings Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Heading into their first season with LeBron James on the roster, the Los Angeles Lakers are about to start JaVale McGee at center with Ivica Zubac as the primary backup and Moe Wagner filling whatever minutes are left over.

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To talk about their options now that Julius Randle (more on him later), Brook Lopez and Channing Frye are no longer on the roster or market for that matter, I welcomed Harrison back onto the show.

We start by trying to figure out how the front office might have arrived at a place where they’d think the aforementioned rotation of centers (McGee, Zubac, Wagner) would suffice on a championship team. To sum up how we feel about that issue, here’s this exchange:

Me: Today on the show, we’re going to talk about the Lakers’ center situation, which is JaVale McGee starting, Ivica Zubac as the primary backup and Moe Wagner. Is that a championship-caliber starting rotation for you at the five?

Harrison: I mean, the short answer is no, and then the long answer is —...

Me: Noooooooooooo...

So the question stemming from this is whether this is a calculated move by the front office or if it was just them just striking out on either bringing back guys who might fit well alongside James and/or bigs on the market who would’ve worked. I gave my theory on what might be going on, but you’ll have to listen to hear it in its entirety.

We discuss why it might make sense for LeBron to play the five and that it all starts with the roster. We’ve seen Lakers teams rely on bigs to make up ineptitude on the perimeter, but could the inverse of that work? You’d obviously prefer a more balanced defense, but the Lakers employ enough versatile defenders on the perimeter, could they make interior defense even less important than it’s already become in the traditional sense?

There’s plenty more to this discussion but you’ll have to listen to find out.

Finally, we bring back 50 Shades of Shade in light of Randle’s comments about his coaching while he was a Laker, which of course leads to a disagreement between Harrison (who was once again wrong) and me.

Listen to the full conversation below and as always, please check out old episodes or guarantee you won’t miss any ever again by subscribing on iTunes.