The torch has officially been passed within the Los Angeles Lakers

The Los Angeles Lakers made a bold decision by hiring JJ Redick as head coach. Those eye-opening decisions continue with Redick making a bold proclamation.
Orlando Magic v Los Angeles Lakers
Orlando Magic v Los Angeles Lakers / Katelyn Mulcahy/GettyImages

The Los Angeles Lakers entered the 2024 NBA offseason with a surplus of uncertainty surrounding each level of the organization. With the hiring of JJ Redick addressing the most prominent area of irresolution, however, the focus has returned to the court.

It hardly took two weeks for Redick to formally answer the biggest question facing the future of the Lakers on the hardwood.

In the immediate aftermath of the hiring of Redick as head coach, Los Angeles has shifted toward a long-term vision for the team. Dalton Knecht and Bronny James were selected at the 2024 NBA Draft, Max Christie was re-signed on a four-year deal, and a commitment was made to a young core.

The latest development in this offseason of subtle changes has been revealed, as Redick has formally stated that the offensive system will shift from being built around LeBron James to running through Anthony Davis.

Per Ben Golliver of The Washington Post:

"[Redick] talked about me being the hub of the offense,” Davis said. “That will be different. We won’t know everything until [training] camp when we’re able to get on the floor. We want LeBron to shoot more threes. [Redick] wants to play fast and defend. From what he was telling me, I’m in total agreeance with what he has planned for us. … The goal at the end of the day is still to win a championship. You can’t skip steps."

In perhaps the most monumental shift imaginable for the Lakers, there's officially a new franchise player in Los Angeles.

Anthony Davis replacing LeBron James as offensive focal point

Davis is coming off of one of the best seasons of his Hall of Fame career. He finished the 2023-24 season averaging 24.7 points, 12.6 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 2.3 blocks, and 1.2 steals in 35.5 minutes per game, shooting 55.6 percent from the field and 81.6 percent at the free throw line.

For his efforts, Davis earned All-NBA Second Team and All-Defensive First Team honors—making him the only player in the Association to be named both All-NBA and All-Defense in 2023-24.

Not to be outdone, James produced a season that earned All-NBA Third Team recognition. He averaged 25.7 points, 8.3 assists, 7.3 rebounds, 1.3 steals, and 2.1 three-point field goals while shooting a career-best 41.0 percent from beyond the arc.

For as impressive as that may be, there's an elephant in the room that the Lakers are finally addressing: James will turn 40 in December.

Even if James continues to defy Father Time, it'd be irresponsible team-building to prioritize a player in that age range over a similarly talented individual in their prime. That's due in no small part to the fact that he's missed at least 26 games in four of his six seasons with the Lakers.

Davis also has an extensive list of injury woes, of course, but committing to him is more about the future of the organization than it is about any one player filling James' massive shoes.

By accepting James' contributions without prioritizing his touches, the Lakers are beginning to build for a future beyond the four-time MVP. In addition to running the offense through Davis, Los Angeles has identified Max Christie, Rui Hachimura, Jalen Hood-Schifino, and Austin Reaves as members of its young core.

James will still feature heavily on offense, of course, but the torch is finally being passed—and the limitations of an aging superstar are finally being acknowledged.