During the weekend prior to the league-wide COVID-19 shutdown, the Los Angeles Lakers made a statement to the rest of the NBA by beating two major contenders for the championship in back-to-back games — the Milwaukee Bucks on March 9, and the LA Clippers on March 11. They were both teams the Lakers had previously struggled against during the season.
In each of these games, I noticed that LeBron James unveiled a new wrinkle and technique on two specific plays out of the post, each while being guarded by the opposition’s marquee players: Giannis Antetokounmpo and Kawhi Leonard.
In the following video, I detailed that new technique James showed off — I’ll be referring to it from here on out as a “hesitation gather.” Check it out:
So there you have it. LeBron’s new wrinkle to his gather is another tool in the toolbox that he can utilize when attacking the paint to keep both defenders and entire team’s defenses guessing. If the NBA season returns, I fully expect a continued cat-and-mouse game from LeBron, with teams doing their homework to adjust to and anticipate the new move and LeBron further countering by varying his gather techniques. The chess game continues.
Dr. Rajpal Brar has a doctorate in physical therapy from Northern Arizona University, and runs his own sports medicine and performance business, 3CB Performance, in West LA and Valencia, CA. He also works at a hospital — giving him experience with patients in the immediate healthcare setting and neurological patients (post stroke, post brain injury) — and has been practicing for 1.5 years. Brar is additionally training at UCLA’s mindful awareness research center (MARC), and analyzes the Lakers from a medical perspective for Silver Screen and Roll and Laker Film Room. You can follow him on Twitter at @3cbPerformance.