LeBron James has played with some exceptional talent over the years. And while it hasn't always been easy bringing out the best in his team, James always found a way to make things work.
In Miami, James took over and helped Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh adapt to new roles. In Cleveland, LeBron led the Cavaliers with Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love as they figured out how to maximize their newfound partnership.
With the Lakers, James is going to have to figure things out once again, and it may be his toughest assignment yet.
Like James, Westbrook is the kind of player that thrives with the ball in his hands. The problem is unless LeBron is willing to change his own game, it's going to be hard finding opportunities for him to control the offense.
On The Bill Simmons Podcast, NBA journalist J.A. Adande alluded to that point, suggesting that, for the first time in his career, Lebron James will have to sacrifice his own game in order to make things work.
“The whole key is whether or not LeBron is ready to say ‘Here, you take it.’ When LeBron went to Miami – everyone talked about ‘You gotta sacrifice?’ – LeBron never sacrificed. LeBron goes to Miami, Bosh and Wade see their usage rate goes down, LeBron’s stayed the same. LeBron goes back to Cleveland, Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving’s usage rate goes down, LeBron’s stayed the same.”
The idea that LeBron has never really sacrificed his game is relatively new, and it's quite radical. But really, anywhere that James has gone he has been at the center of everything -- both on and off the court. And while has made some adjustments to his game before, it has always been on his terms.
LeBron’s is a brilliant basketball mind (writes Filip Trivic of Basketball Network), but he never used his brilliance to change his game and role – he uses it to help you change yours. There’s the best version of yourself to be the best possible LeBron sidekick, and James will adapt to help you excel in that role, but he never really sacrificed to help someone be the best version of themselves. It’s always been about being the best version that complements LeBron.
The lakers have said several times already that they just need Westbrook "to be Westbrook." But through the first few games of the season, he just hasn't been a good fit alongside LeBron and Anthony Davis.
If the Lakers are serious about winning a title, they might have to think about changing their approach, and having Westbrook take over the role that LeBron loves so much.