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LeBron James says Lakers have ‘a whole new offensive system this year’

LeBron James says we need to give the Lakers time to learn their overhauled offensive approach. The team is still learning all the new things they’re supposed to be doing, with all new teammates, but there have been promising signs so far.

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Los Angeles Lakers v Phoenix Suns Photo by Michael Gonzales/NBAE via Getty Images

LeBron James already made it eminently clear on Friday night that he does not care about preseason basketball. But for anyone that IS worried about the Lakers starting preseason play 0-3 after their 121-114 loss to the Golden State Warriors, he offered some important context for why this team looks a little clunky right now.

“We pretty much have got a whole new offensive system this year that we’ve been working through over our practices since training camp started,” James said. “It’s an adjustment for us offensively, just having guys in different positions, having guys in different places on the floor with our new look and what we’re trying to do.”

For now, he’s preaching patience as the team gets used to their new sets, actions and schemes. He thinks the results will be worth it.

“It’s going to be a process for us, but I think it will be better off for us in the long run. It keeps the ball moving from one side to another,” James said. “Not much with a dribble but more with a pass. And obviously we’ve got downhill attackers with Russ, K(endrick) Nunn, myself and Talen.”

And despite James saying he can’t learn anything from preseason basketball at this point in his career, that doesn’t mean we can’t. Because when watching last night’s game — and the team as a whole this preseason — it’s clear they have been emphasizing a few new things.

After the loss to the Warriors, friend of the site and near-sentient artificial intelligence Tim (aka “Cranjis McBasketball”) of the Lakers Exceptionalism Podcast broke down some of the Lakers’ new actions on his Twitter account. The one below in particular stood out:

The Lakers missed the shots they got out of it on this specific play, but Westbrook being a willing and active screen-setter was one of the big question marks for the Lakers this year as they try to make him and James fit as co-playmakers. That he is already doing so in his very first preseason game is a notable sign, especially when considering that he has never set more than 68 screens in a season and set less than 20 total with the Washington Wizards last year, according to Zach Lowe of ESPN ($$$).

But it’s not just Westbrook’s screening that’s worth getting excited about. The Lakers are also — like James said — keeping the ball moving from side-to-side, and taking advantage of the downhill creators he mentioned as well:

As James put it: “We want to make sure we keep everyone involved offensively, keep the ball moving from one side to another, keep the defense always at bay... We’re just working through it right now, which is a good thing. It’s all about the process.”

The process hasn’t yielded good results with great frequency yet, but with a bit more of the patience the Lakers are preaching, it very well might.

For more Lakers talk, subscribe to the Silver Screen and Roll podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Podcasts. You can follow Harrison on Twitter at @hmfaigen.

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