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Los Angeles Lakers May Deploy LeBron James As Center In Their Own Death Lineup

By John Carlo A. Villaruel
on Jul 20, 2018 09:05 AM EDT
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The Los Angeles Lakers hope to maximize the potential of LeBron James as they look on designating their new signing in the center spot.

James who joined the Lakers on a four-year deal in the offseason has shown the capabilities of playing the middle position as seen in his second stint with the Cleveland Cavaliers. According to multiple sources around the league, the Lakers are hoping to instill a new dynamic into their squad which only features three centers.

"We may not see this on day one, but the coaching staff is eager to see our version of the [Warriors'] Death Lineup with Lonzo [Ball], Josh Hart, Brandon Ingram, [Kyle] Kuzma and LeBron," a Lakers executive said.

Currently, the Lakers are projected to start JaVale McGee in the opening night with third-year center Ivica Zubac playing the backup role. Rookie Moe Wagner is also expected to man the middle for the Lakers who lost Brook Lopez to the Milwaukee Bucks and Julius Randle to the New Orleans Pelicans.

Moving To Center Would Help James

On the other hand, Silver Screen And Roll journalist Harrison Faigen believes that moving James to the center spot would give him the quickness advantage against every player. Last season, James only played 1.5 percent of his time on the floor at center.

In his stint as a center, the Cavaliers averaged a 9.3 positive net rating per 100 possessions. The Cavaliers also scored a rate of 146.3 points per 100 possessions while outscoring their opponents by 42.5 points per 100 possessions.

Nonetheless, Faigen is doubtful that James would be comfortable in the middle most especially since the 33-year-old superstar only played 54 possessions at center for the Cavaliers. Prior to last season, James has played 16 possessions, five possessions, and two possessions at center over 2014-15, 2015-16, and 2016-17 seasons respectively.

Lakers Eyeing Ayres To Land Leonard

Meanwhile, the Lakers which has one available roster spot are rumored to be eyeing summer league star, Jeff Ayres. The 31-year-old Ayres last competed in the league with the Los Angeles Clippers in the 2015-16 season before playing overseas in Japan, Russia, and Turkey.

Ayres is no stranger to the NBA game as the former Los Angeles D-fender has won a title with the San Antonio Spurs in 2014. According to a team executive, South Bay Lakers president Joey Buss and general manager Nick Mazzella took Ayres when the Lakers needed a center for their summer league team.

Interestingly, Ayres is being represented by Mitch Frankel who also represents Toronto Raptors' star, Kawhi Leonard.

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