Lakers News: LeBron James Plays PG, Anthony Davis Center in Crunch-Time Lineup

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorOctober 4, 2019

LeBron James (L) and Anthony Davis of the Los Angeles Lakers arrive for a photo shoot during Lakers Media day in El Segundo, California on September 27, 2019. (Photo by Frederic J. BROWN / AFP)        (Photo credit should read FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)
FREDERIC J. BROWN/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Lakers practiced late-game situations with LeBron James running the point and Anthony Davis handling the 5 on Thursday, according to Dave McMenamin of ESPN.

James offered his comments after the session.

"I mean, we have so many different lineup packages that we can probably go to throughout the course of the season.

"So we're just trying out a few things now in practice -- going with smaller lineups, going with bigger lineups, going with quicker lineups, going with slower lineups. But that's the luxury of having our personnel, we have the ability to do multiple things. So, that's what practice is all about, being able to work on those things."

Per McMenamin, Lakers head coach Frank Vogel pitted the starters and reserves in a late-game scenario in which the backups led 99-96 with two minutes left.

James committed a few turnovers during that stretch, but a few bright spots appeared. Notably, Davis got the ball numerous times in the high post for jumpers, and James hit a game-tying three-pointer with six seconds remaining.

Vogel put Alex Caruso, Avery Bradley and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope out with the starters. The reserves consisted of Danny Green, Dwight Howard, Rajon Rondo, Devontae Cacok and Troy Daniels. That group ended up winning when Rondo knocked down a free throw with less than a second left.

James will likely be called into floor-general duties consistently this season, but he made it clear that he's versatile enough to not be tied to one position label.

"It doesn't matter to me. I do whatever it takes for us to win. So it doesn't matter. I'm a ballplayer. I'm not a point guard, I'm not a shooting guard, a small forward, power forward or a center. I'm just a ballplayer. You put me on the floor, and I can make things happen with whoever is on the floor. So, I'm just looking forward to getting out there with my teammates because it's exciting. It's fun."

The Lakers' crunch-time lineup may be put to the test immediately with a tough two-game regular-season slate against the Los Angeles Clippers and Utah Jazz to start the year.

The Clips finished 48-34 last year and added 2019 NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard and six-time All-Star Paul George, the latter of whom will be out to start the season to recover from shoulder surgeries.

The Jazz went 50-32 and finished second in defensive efficiency last season, per ESPN.com.

Growing pains can happen against the Clips, Jazz or any other opponent as the Lakers work with an overhauled roster and lineups. It helps to have a four-time NBA MVP running the point and a three-time All-NBA team member down low, though.

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