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Lakers Rumors: Latest on LeBron James, Projected Starting Lineup, More

Theo SalaunContributor IJuly 12, 2019

Los Angeles Laker players LeBron James, center, and Anthony Davis, right, take in an NBA summer league basketball game between the New York Knicks and the New Orleans Pelicans, Friday, July 5, 2019, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Steve Marcus)
Steve Marcus/Associated Press

Continuing an offseason that has felt more like NBA 2K than real life, it now seems possible that LeBron James might start at point guard for the Los Angeles Lakers. Considering the team's roster right now, it feels right.

The entire Lakers roster is in flux, and its coaching staff might be, too, as Golden State Warriors assistant coach Ron Adams has reportedly rejected L.A.'s courtship in favor of returning to the Bay, per ESPN.com's Ohm Youngmisuk and Dave McMenamin. 

The Lakers depth chart boasts three point guards right now: Rajon Rondo, Quinn Cook and Alex Caruso. Rondo is 33 years old, Cook is 6'2" (in shoes) and averaged just 1.6 assists last season, and Caruso, similarly, averaged just 3.1 assists last season.

The only other current Lakers apart from James and Rondo to have averaged more than Caruso's 3.1 mark for assists last season? Anthony Davis (3.9) and DeMarcus Cousins (3.6).

Yahoo's Chris Haynes reported that LeBron is likely to run the 1 next season and, unless something changes, the logic checks out.

Chris Haynes @ChrisBHaynes

Yahoo Sources: Los Angeles Lakers intend to move LeBron James to the starting point guard position. https://t.co/is6BPo5W0q

Head coach Frank Vogel remained noncommital when broached about the point-Bron likelihood.

On ESPN2, Vogel said: "There's been no decision on LeBron starting at point guard. It's too early to decide/make determinations on who will start and where."

While downplaying the certainty that LeBron will play point, Vogel certainly did not rule it out. And although he did not rule out JaVale McGee doing so, either, there remains reasonable room for roster speculation.

Excluding rookies and unsigned free agents, the Lakers roster consists of Danny Green, Avery Bradley, Troy Daniels, Kyle Kuzma, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Jared Dudley—in addition to the aforementioned LeBron, Rondo, Cook, Caruso, Davis, Cousins and McGee. 

Barring further roster moves, LeBron starting at the 1 is a comforting rotational choice that most of us have probably successfully tried in 2K.

The King has averaged 8.1 assists over the past five years and could probably save his body from some more wear and tear by playing more of an initiator, rather than a finisher, role. This would free up Rondo to run the second unit while Green, Kuzma, Davis and Cousins round out the starting lineup.

Of course, there's room for flexibility with the current depth chart. Cousins, in particular, could be moved to the second unit in favor of a smaller lineup that features Bradley at the 2 (or a resurgent Caldwell-Pope) while Green, Kuzma and Davis all move down. 

Without a trade, it's hard to imagine a world in which L.A.'s best bet isn't to lean into the point-Bron movement. That's up to Vogel and assistant coach Jason Kidd to figure out.

Unfortunately, Golden State's Adams won't be able to help. Youngmisuk and McMenamin reported that Adams, an eminent defensive specialist, is returning to the Warriors in a "revised role" after speaking with the Lakers.

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