Los Angeles Lakers: Starting LeBron James at center is not an option

AKRON, OH - JULY 30: LeBron James addresses the crowd during the opening ceremonies of the I Promise School on July 30, 2018 in Akron, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
AKRON, OH - JULY 30: LeBron James addresses the crowd during the opening ceremonies of the I Promise School on July 30, 2018 in Akron, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /

The Los Angeles Lakers enter the 2018-2019 NBA season without a great outlook at center, which has prompted the suggestion of LeBron James.

The Los Angeles Lakers front office completely reinvented the roster this offseason. While the same young core remains, the team made the best upgrade of the offseason by signing the best basketball player on the planet, LeBron James.

James was joined by several other veterans that the Los Angeles Lakers signed to one-year deals following the James signing.

These moves were obviously to fill out the roster as the Lakers had some unanswered questions at certain positions, due to the team’s mission of freeing up cap space.

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Thus, the Lakers signed Rajon Rondo, Lance Stephenson, Michael Beasley and JaVale McGee to complement James and the young core consisting of Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma and Josh Hart.

Overall, the Lakers look to have a pretty solid lineup heading into next season that is only going to get better as the young players progress. However, there is an obvious glaring hole, despite the team’s efforts to sign veterans.

The Los Angeles Lakers are thin at the center position.

Right now, McGee, Ivica Zubac and possibly Mortiz Wagner are the Lakers’ only options at center. This has prompted many to suggest that LeBron James see time at center, which quite frankly, is not a bad idea.

What is a bad idea, however, is starting James at the five and expecting him to make the transition into a productive center in the league. Sure, James is the most talented player on the court and today’s NBA is built for him to make a transition of this caliber.

However, this is only going to cause more issues than it creates and should be saved exclusively for the right situations.

First of all, the team’s outlook at center is not that terrible.

McGee proved that he could do what he is asked on a title contending team in the Golden State Warriors over the last two seasons. He does not need to play 30 minutes, he just needs to give the team 10-15 minutes of solid rebounding and a shot blocking presence.

Then you have Zubac, who really did not get a chance to shine in his sophomore season and was not half bad in his rookie year. In the games that Zubac started his rookie year he averaged 10.6 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.3 assists in only 20.9 minutes per game.

If given a rotation slot worth 15 minutes Zubac can easily score three or four baskets for the Lakers as well as pick up a handful of key rebounds.

Not to mention that Wagner is likely going to have a bigger impact than most think. The seven-foot forward/center is the perfect option to stretch the floor and give a play style similar to Kevin Love.

While he might not be quite Love, that similar playstyle will be familiar to LeBron James and thrive off the strengths of the rest of the roster.

Quite frankly, the Los Angeles Lakers do not need to run a small ball lineup unless it is in crunch time down the stretch of the fourth quarter.

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With those three options at center and Kyle Kuzma and Michael Beasley to back up LeBron, having him take up a task he does not need to take up will only hurt his production and the overall production of the team.