LeBron James Makes Intriguing Impact For Lakers At Center

LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers, NBA
NBA Analysis Network

The Los Angeles Lakers have been hit hard by injuries and positive COVID-19 tests. Looking to spark the team, an interesting change was made by David Fizdale, who is acting head coach until Frank Vogel gets out of protocols himself. He started LeBron James at the center position during the NBA’s Tuesday slate.

When Anthony Davis is healthy, playing him at the center spot is the most advantageous lineup the Lakers can make. Playing James there can present just as many positives as it did on Tuesday night against the Houston Rockets.

It is something we have seen in limited spurts, but committing to it full-time for a game is not something that has been done previously. James has never started at the center position at any level of basketball.

“I was a skinny, lanky kid growing up, but I was never one of the biggest guys or in the center position,” said James. “I’ve always played the wing or kind of handled the ball.”

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Standing 6’9” and listed at 250 pounds, LeBron James can certainly handle playing on the interior. It is something the Los Angeles Lakers could use more of going forward as Davis will be sidelined a few more weeks, Dwight Howard is working his way back from COVID-19 and DeAndre Jordan has provided inconsistent production.

During his time with the Miami Heat, where Fizdale was an assistant coach, there were some times that James played the center position. For now, it is something Los Angeles can benefit from.

“LeBron’s plus-minus at the 5 is so ridiculous right now,” Fizdale said. “To have guys out with COVID and stuff like that, I just took a gamble and said, ‘You know, I think that tonight’s the night to start him at 5.'”

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Having a player that versatile is a huge advantage for the Lakers. Knowing they can place him in any spot in the lineup and he will produce is essentially a cheat code. Just days away from being 37-years old, James remains one of the most dominant players in the game.

Playing minutes at the center spot should open up even more things for the coaching staff to take advantage of. It isn’t something he can do full-time, as there are still some bruising, big-bodied centers the Los Angeles Lakers will go up against in the league. But, that ability to fill numerous holes is something James takes pride in.

“I think I’ve taken pride over the course of my career in being able to play five positions,” James said. “Or at least know all five positions. Knowing the commands. So tonight … called for me to start at center and I just tried to be in a hell of a lot of plays.”

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The Rockets had no answer for LeBron James. He recorded his third triple-double of the season, scoring 32 points with 11 rebounds and 11 assists. It was his fifth straight game scoring at least 31 points, as he is currently locked in on the court.