On offense, LeBron James draws a lot of attention with his high-flying plays and amazingly impressive passes. Truth be told, it's easy to see the impact he has on that end of the floor.
Defensively, however, it's not always so easy to see what he does and that part of his game often gets overlooked by the fans.
But, recently, Lakers coach Frank Vogel gave some heavy praise for James in his post-game chat with the media. Here's what he said:
“There’s some defensive benefits to it as well, especially with certain matchups where we’re doing a lot of double-teaming with elite guards and you have more speed to scramble around the perimeter. There’s still a lot of areas of those types of coverages that we need to improve on but the speed of that can be beneficial.”
“Whether he’s guarding the five or if he’s on the backside at the 3 or 4 or whatever, his voice has been critical over the last three years of me being here and this era of Lakers basketball to the defenses that we’ve had. He’s the middle linebacker. He’s the best communicator. He’s the best anticipator. Anybody who wants to question what he’s doing on the defensive side of the ball, he’s critical to everything we do defensively.”
LeBron is a 6x All-Defensive player, and it's for good reason. His size, strength, and brilliance make him a hard matchup for any player in the league.
More importantly, however, is how L.A. defends as a team. When they won the title in 2020, their defense was a huge reason why and LeBron has made it clear he wants that same dominance this season, too.
“Our goal is to be a number one defensive team in the league. It’s going to take our film session, it’s going to take our shootarounds, it’s going to take the practice of what we do on the floor and in the games to continue to work on those habits.”
A 21-20, it's clear that the Lakeshow still have plenty of work to do if they want to advance in the West. Anthony Davis has yet to return, Russell Westbrook is struggling to fit in, and the supporting cast can only do so much.
This season, it falls on Bron to keep the team afloat until they can get their act together. It remains to be seen if that's possible, but how they play on defense going forward will be a huge indicator.