LeBron James holds value to whatever team he’s on, both on and off the court. This is not groundbreaking analysis, obviously, but it’s worth pointing out while James remains out with a strained groin. While he’s injured — and honestly, moving forward as well — the Los Angeles Lakers need one (and preferably both) of Kyle Kuzma and Brandon Ingram to figure things out, so James taking on a mentoring role would be quite the development ... for their development.
Well it seems he has, as the improvements James has tried to help both guys make were chronicled by Joe Vardon of The Athletic, with Kuzma talking about how James has tried to help him avoid committing so many charges:
“After the Cavs game, that’s when it really was like, ‘Come on now, this is ridiculous,’ ” Kuzma said. “LeBron, he’s been pointing out a lot of different type of counter moves while we’re in practice, helping me get comfortable doing spin moves or Euros or whatever it might be to switch it up.
“He’s been great ever since he’s been out, whether that’s on the court, practice, sends text messages when we’re on the road. Just, he’s a great teammate, always trying to lend a hand.”
LeBron, if you’re reading this, please remind Kuzma that he doesn’t have to force up a heat check after every one of his makes.
Ingram typically prefers to keep these things in the locker room, so it’s kind of notable that it’s out there that James has played a role in his development, too.
Brandon Ingram, another of the Lakers’ young core, has been getting iPad lessons from LeBron about where to stand and when to cut when the ball isn’t in his hands, or how to elevate over a defender just at the right moment for a jump shot.
What I find most interesting here is how these aspects of the game James is mentoring Kuzma and Ingram on fit into their games alongside him on the court. Kuzma has been one of his draft class’ best finishers, so it makes sense James would focus on moves to help him get clean looks off.
Ingram, on the other hand, has struggled to find a role that suits him with James also on the court, so it’s good to see LeBron working with him on aspects of the game that make him a better fit whenever they play at the same time.
Here’s hoping Kuzma and Ingram can put those parts of the game to use with James sooner rather than later.