After two disappointing losses, LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers have been able to right the ship during their four-game homestand.
In a recent win against the Indiana Pacers, they were without Victor Oladipo, but it was still a win the Lakers will take given their poor play at that time.
James led the team with a near triple-double: 38 points, nine rebounds, and seven assists in 38 minutes.
Despite James’ heroics, he admitted the struggles between when to take over games and when to give his younger teammates a chance to spread their wings, according to Matthew Moreno of Lakers Nation:
“That’s the challenging thing I’ve been battling with since the season started: How much do I defer and allow our young guys to figure it out? And how much do I try to take over games?” he said.
“I think tonight was one of those instances where they looked at me and wanted me to close the game, and I just tried to make plays, both offensively and defensively. They cut it to one-point game and after that we got defensive stops and I was able to make some plays offensively.”
The struggle James alluded to has been something that young players like Brandon Ingram have admitted to learning how to adjust to. The three-time champion needs the ball to be effective, taking away opportunities for the young core to learn and grow in crunch time.
While the development of players like Ingram and Lonzo Ball are crucial to the long-term success of the Lakers, it is imperative they rack up wins now before they get lost in the playoff shuffle. James may need to shoulder more of the late-game load until they are relatively secure in the standings.
For now, the Lakers will happily take wins when they can get them. As the 2018-19 NBA season progresses, however, James should learn to be more comfortable ceding some control to his teammates.