A change of 'guard': What does the addition of Danny Green and possibly playing LeBron James at point mean for the LA Lakers?
After the mysterious but intriguing free agent superstar and reigning Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard spurned the Los Angeles Lakers for their hallway rivals Los Angeles Clippers, the Lakers used their available cap money to make a flurry of free agent signings. They have more size, depth, shooting, and skill in their roster since their last championship in 2010.
One of the biggest changes the Lakers will have in the upcoming 2019-2020 season come at the guard positions. The Lakers re-signed Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Rajon Rondo and Alex Caruso.
However, the Lakers also made several new additions to the backcourt. The Lakers added Danny Green, Troy Daniels, Quinn Cook, and Avery Bradley. They have apparently made another “addition” to the backcourt, with reports suggesting that LeBron James will switch to the point guard position in the upcoming season.
At a listed 6-8 and 250 pounds, LeBron James will be the second tallest point guard in the NBA, after his fellow Klutch Sports client Ben Simmons of the Philadelphia 76ers, who stands at 6-10. Additionally, James is clearly the heaviest at this position.
James has played every position in his career, but he has not been “officially” a point guard on a regular basis since his rookie season with the Cleveland Cavaliers. However, the ball has never stopped being in his hands. He has always been the primary ball-handler for every team he has played for, even with the likes of Dwyane Wade and Kyrie Irving. He is also one of the all-time leaders in assists.
LeBron has a good bit of athleticism and quickness left, even at the verge of 35 years old. He has become a post player in the last half of his career anyway, often using his size, strength, and footwork. So it will be easy for him to overwhelm smaller guards.
The challenge will be LeBron's capacity defensively. It has been noted that he has lost a step or two defensively, and virtually every team in the Western Conference has a quick and/or elite point guard. Fortunately for him, he will be teamed in the backcourt with established defenders such as Danny Green, Avery Bradley, and the newly resigned Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.
Also, another legend that wore purple-and-gold and was a 6-9 point guard will likely have his ear; Magic Johnson. Magic still is heavily involved with the franchise even after controversially resigning as team president.
Danny Green was awaiting the decision from his long-time friend, teammate, and fellow two-time NBA champion Kawhi Leonard. Once it was officially announced that “The Klaw” was taking his talents back home with the Los Angeles Clippers, Green decided to play down the hall with the Lakers. He signed a 2-year, $30 million contract.
For the first time since 2011, Green will not be paired on a team with Leonard. He had expressed interest in the Lakers during his free agency, as well as the Dallas Mavericks. The 6-6 swingman is the classic “3-and-D” player with championship experience and has had a reputation for getting hot in big games over the course of his career. His stint with the Toronto Raptors was a successful one, capped off by an NBA Finals victory over the favored, but depleted Golden State Warriors.
However, Green has seen better postseasons. The 32-year-old struggled from the field for most of the playoffs, and in the second half of several games, Raptors coach Nick Nurse usually inserted spark plug Fred VanVleet at shooting guard.
Green may have even lost a bit of a step defensively, as he committed silly reach-in fouls at times. However, he still had his moments in the Finals. In a pivotal Game 3 in Oakland, with the series knotted 1-1, Danny Green shot 6-for-10 from 3-point range (and the field) for 18 points. He also had a memorable chase-down block against Quinn Cook.
Green has familiarity with LeBron James, not only playing against him in the 2013 and 2014 NBA Finals as a member of the San Antonio Spurs, but he played with him his rookie season in 2010 with the Cleveland Cavaliers.