Laker greats Magic Johnson and Kobe Bryant have recently commented on LeBron James‘ habit of running the offense, much like he did in Cleveland and Miami.
Magic didn’t hide how he was feeling about the situation.
Kobe added to the conversation by saying, “It is a recipe to keep your head above water, to give yourself a little breathing room, and now it’s going back to teaching how to play the way that we want to play.”
Through the first 24 games of the season, LeBron ranks 14th in usage rate at 30.8 percent. This means 30.8 percent of the Lakers plays end in LeBron shooting, turning the ball over or getting to the free throw line.
However, since Rajon Rondo sustained a broken hand in November, in the last 10 games, James’ usage rate has increased to 33.5 percent. This ranks as 7th highest in the NBA over the 10-game span.
Rondo appears to be approaching his return, as he participated in “pretty much all” of Tuesday’s practice, according to ESPN’s NBA reporter Dan McMenamin.
Luke Walton says Rondo participated in "pretty much all" of Tues practice. The team says Rondo has been cleared to ramp up contact. He's close, but not quite back and has been ruled out Weds. Luke: "He’s still holding back a little bit. … but he says it’s not from pain"
— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) December 4, 2018
On Tuesday, a reporter asked LeBron his thoughts about the Lakers asking him to do “too much” on the court.
“I don’t know what asking me to do too much is, to be honest,” said James.
LeBron acknowledged the point Magic and Kobe brought up and says the younger guys need a chance to develop.
“We want to see how much our young guys can grow and be the best they can be,” James said.
However, he backed up the way he’s been playing.
“Magic and Kobe know who I am. I know who I am. They know what they’re going to get out of me. You know what you’re going to get out of me every game.”
LeBron says he understands where Magic Johnson and Kobe Bryant were coming in from when they said Lakers can’t lean too heavily on him – but he doesn’t know what that means. pic.twitter.com/c1FWJphBaT
— Bill Oram (@billoram) December 4, 2018
What to Watch For
With Rondo’s return quickly approaching, it will be interesting to see if LeBron’s usage rate returns to normal.
The Lakers face the San Antonio Spurs at 8:30 p.m. on Friday.