Los Angeles Lakers: Is Charles Barkley right about LeBron James?

(Photo by Chris Elise/NBAE via Getty Images)
(Photo by Chris Elise/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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Los Angeles Lakers
(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

Charles Barkley offered his opinion on the Los Angeles Lakers point guard situation. Is Barkley’s take about LeBron James correct?

The Los Angeles Lakers are now 4-1 and sitting at the top of the Western Conference. It goes to show the up and down roller coaster season of the NBA. It seems now like the Lakers’ only loss, on opening night, was merely a small bump in the road.

The Lakers now look like world-beaters after rolling over the Memphis Grizzlies 120-91 in a game that Anthony Davis broke team and league records all over the place. Did I forget to mention that he did this in three quarters?

Should the Lakers be printing tickets for fan purchase to the Western Conference Finals? According to ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith, not yet.

Comparing the Lakers to the brand new “New Orleans Pelicans moving to Hollywood” is a bit harsh and will probably stick out more than the actual discussion in this article. For the record, the Los Angeles Lakers are not the next coming of the “West Coast Pelicans”.

For this, Stephen A. Smith is wrong in that context.

With the complete overhaul of the roster, it is common knowledge that the Lakers are going through major changes, especially with the injuries to Kyle Kuzma (Stress reaction in his foot) and Rajon Rondo (Calf strain) that has held two potential starters out of the lineup this season. What is being missed in this big scenario is the adjustments being made between the hierarchy of LeBron James and Anthony Davis.

But let’s take a deeper look at the message that Stephen A. Smith may be saying about James’ play. It’s no question that James has to be at a certain level for the Los Angeles Lakers to have a chance to win the NBA title this year. For the first four games, LeBron James is not there yet.

There are two major issues that LeBron James is currently facing in his adjustment period.

LeBron James has been the undisputed No. 1 option for four franchises (If you count Cleveland twice!) over the span of 17 years. Now the Lakers bring in a player of Anthony Davis‘ caliber, James has to figure out the proper balance of making sure that Davis is producing numbers while staying aggressive enough to play at or near the level he was during the championship runs in the past.

TNT’s Charles Barkley may have noticed the problem after the Lakers’ opening night loss to the Clippers.

The next day Barkley and his Inside the NBA colleagues were at a media luncheon at Shaquille O’Neal‘s restaurant at LA Live (On a side note, how many businesses does this guy have?  He should be known as the “Big Portfolio”). He believes that LeBron James should not be running point.

Here’s an excerpt from his reasoning courtesy of Bleacher Report.

"“I’m not going to overreact to one game, but I do think the [Los Angeles] Lakers got to take LeBron [James] off the point.” “He can’t play the point all night. They need to play at a much faster pace, and at his age, he can’t do that,” Barkley continued. “They need to find a way to speed the tempo up and get the other guys involved.”"

This will be a sore subject for LeBron fans everywhere. No matter what the situation is going forward, somehow, someway LeBron James will have the ball in his hands initiating the offense.

Considering the fact that he’s one of the best players of his generation, good luck to Frank Vogel convincing him to play off the ball more. This was the plan last year, but it took about 20-25 games for things to go back to the status quo.

Taking LeBron James off the ball was a good theoretical idea last year, but this year it’s clear that he needs to start playing with another ball-handler to take the pressure off.

Is Charles Barkley right about taking LeBron off the point? Let’s take a look back over the first five games and see.