The problem is that LJ is masquerading as a Center, Power Forward, Small Forward, Point Guard, Point Forward, Point Center, …, or anything other than the Shooting Guard that he is.
I dealt with this problem in 2016 as I decided that LJ did not belong on the 2016 Olympic Men’s Basketball Team. In a nutshell, Steph Curry and believe it or not, Russ Westbrook, were the #1 and #2 NBA Guards that year. It was hardly debatable! Steph obviously was the Shooting Guard and therefore, LJ would properly be cut from the roster, and certainly cut from the Starting Five. Fan Boys will disagree and surely insert LJ as a Small Forward. They will even declare that he is the best Small Forward in the history of the NBA. I find it truly hilarious to declare that someone that does not play Small Forward, is the best Small Forward to every play Small Forward. This is the logic that is incomprehensible when you have no idea what you are talking about, and you rely on the likes of Fox Sports, TNT, and ESPN to validate your thinking.
In 2016, “Kawhi Leonard” was the best Small Forward in Basketball. Kawhi regularly enforces the paint, controls the boards, attacks the basket, is defended by Forwards and Centers, defends against Forwards and Centers. LJ does not do this. I remind you again that you do not know Shane Battier if LJ plays defense against Forwards and other rightful assignments. I remind you of the indignity suffered by Ray Allen as he was not on the Miami Starting Line Up because Battier had to play defense for LJ. Don’t think that I can’t go deeper. That would be an error. In my 2016 Article, “Olympians”, I refer to Draymond Green as, “Ditto Kawhi Leonard”. They are truly Forwards, they are “Ring Bearers”, Champions, and not masquerading as Forwards. To refer to other 2016 Forwards of note sounds something like, “Kevin Durant, Paul George, Jimmy Butler, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan, Dwight Howard, Anthony Davis, LaMarcus Aldridge, DeMarcus Cousins, Kevin Love, and many other Forwards”. Do you really declare that LJ can fill those shoes, even though he never has? Or do you believe that LJ should start at a position simply because he is 6’- 9” tall?
There is no shame in LJ being a Shooting Guard. He simply is not the Best Michael Jordan that we have ever seen. That is another masquerade.
Flash forward to the present situation. I knew that there was a problem with the Lakers when it was declared that LJ was going to play Power Forward this year. This change was due to adding Russ Westbrook to the Lakers in their “Big Three” fiasco. Let me see, trade away Rondo, add Westbrook, and LJ has to change positions. Can someone tell me what changing Rondo to Westbrook has to do with the positions that LJ and Davis play? You can not learn to play Forward at the NBA level. That is a problem that even LJ can not solve.
LJ is in the top 5 Mail Men of NBA history. LJ has an amazing spot up jump shot, especially for a man of his size. I am an expert in motion dynamics and I am “Smart Guy” that used to play ball. I understand the difficulty of correcting motion error during the shooting of a jumper. It gets down to finger tip adjustments, and with 270 lbs of motion error and a 9 foot motion arm, LJ’s finger tips do one hell of a job. I credit LJ with very few other aspects of his game, except for his supreme athleticism. It is not hard to lead your team in assists if you are the only one with the damned ball in your hand for the first 15 seconds of each play! Let me just say that he does not get excellent ratings for defense, rebounding, posting up, finesse, strategy, shot blocking, …, clutch play.
The problem with the Lakers is that LJ does not play Forward or Center. Tipping the ball up at the start of the half does not a Center make. Just because the Lakers declare that LJ is their Power Forward, does not mean that LJ plays the Power Forward position. You have to look at this masquerade from the frame of reference of the other members of the Laker’s.
How do you, Russ Westbrook, be the best Westbrook Shooting Guard that you can be, when Space Jams, Bron The Goat, 2 time NBA Champion, 1 time Exibition Season Champion, 2016 Finals Cheat Recipient, the only player to be the Greatest Of All Times at All positions, (even the imaginary positions of Point Forward and Point Center), is standing in your position demanding and possessing the ball and pretending to be the Center? The Small Forward? The Power Forward? You can’t watch LJ play Shooting Guard in Westbrook’s position, and then point your finger at Westbrook for not being Michael Jordan.
Don’t go to the lame argument that LJ does not play Shooting Guard very much. He is preoccupied! He damned sure is not playing Forward! My memory of LJ as a Miami Heat player was that he held the ball up top for 18 to 19 seconds, while the rest of the team stood around with their fingers up their asses until LJ forced a play into the paint, shot a low percentage jump shot, or dumped the ball on one of his team mates that better gad domn turn it into a bucket. When the media would question LJ about just what in Hell the Miami Heat attack was, LJ simply responded with his Basketball “Savantness” that SAS always declares, “We Do What We Do”. That is what he does. He does not know how to run an offense. He was the big kid from the Ohio cornfield that you got the ball to. He did not learn organized ball at the college level, and he is lacking in that skill. That will not change.
No, I am not saying that Westbrook is a better Shooting Guard than LJ. I am saying that LJ should stop masquerading as a post player. Considering the amount of time that LJ spends out at the top, exactly who is playing Forward for the Lakers during those extended times? In defense of Westbrook, I am saying that he has scarce opportunity to run the offense, to start plays from the top, to catch an overload or missed assignment, and take advantage of his supreme athletics. That is Westbrook’s game. He is not an accurate shooter, but an athletic basketball player. Russ was never going to be Kobe Bryant or Michel Jordan. It is however, a tough order, to be a marginal offensive threat that plays with a 270 pound beast standing on his toes.
This problem will not be solved until the masquerade ends. The answer is not what you need to do about Russ. If Russ is the problem, the easy solution is to take him out of the Starting Five. The wasting of the Westbrook salary dollars is strictly a management problem. Why do you go 55 games deep implying that Russ is the problem? Bench him if you think that will solve the problem of LJ having 3 left feet and no post game to speak about. Or just simply move LJ to Shooting Guard (Because that is what he plays!) and activate a Wing Man to play defense against a rangy, lanky Guard or a Patrick Beverly type to play defense against a quick and evasive Steph Curry type of Shooting Guard, both of which would give LJ fits.
Last night the Greek Freak scored 44 and LJ scored 15, and it was all the fault of Russ Westbrook! The Lakers were down by 30 in the 3rd quarter and they are so trashy that they continued to play in the 4th quarter after the Bucks granted them “Mercy” in the 3rd! Go ahead and keep calling LJ a Center or Power Forward. But I think LJ was tossing Greek Salad that game.