As many star teammates as LeBron James has had, he has always transcended them.
LeBron led Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh to the Heat’s titles. LeBron led Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love to the Cavaliers’ title.
But could it be different with Anthony Davis on the Lakers?
“I’ve kind of been a focal-point player my whole career, especially in New Orleans. But first off, to have a guy like LeBron, someone of his caliber, go tell management and ownership and the coaches that he wants me to be the focal point is an honor,” Davis told Yahoo Sports. “I know what comes with that, and that’s a lot of heavy lifting. I want to be able to do that. I think I have the capabilities of doing that. And obviously with the team’s support, it’s going to be a lot easier on me. We have a great team.”
I’ll believe it when I see it.
LeBron said he planned to hand the keys to the Cavaliers to Irving then never did. Irving played second fiddle until getting tired of waiting and requested a trade.
Last summer, LeBron put out word about wanting to play off the ball. The Lakers pitched him on that. But when the season came around, he was his usual ball-dominant self.
Even at age 34, LeBron is at his best with the ball in his hands. He knows it. Everyone knows it. It’s hard to surrender control to a lesser option.
Davis is far better than LeBron’s supporting cast last year. Davis has improved as a distributor, making it more effective to run the offense through him.
But Davis is still more of a finisher than creator. LeBron could do wonders setting him up. Especially if LeBron starts at point guard, everything falls into place for LeBron to have the ball. Then what? Will he really give it up enough for Davis to be considered the focal point?
I believe LeBron thinks that will happen, just as I believe LeBron thought he’d relinquish control to Irving or last year’s other Lakers. But when push comes to shove, two things happen – LeBron wants to win, and LeBron wants to play how he’s comfortable. Both lead to him taking control of the offense.
Maybe it’ll truly be different with Davis. The older LeBron gets, the more it makes sense for him to defer. Yet, there’s a lot of precedent to overcome.
The stakes are high. Davis sounds excited about being the focal point, and he’ll be an unrestricted free agent next summer. If he dislikes his role, not could the Lakers face turbulence during a potential championship season, Davis could leave them outright.