LeBron James says he is having an internal, season-long battle with how much to defer to his younger teammates versus simply dominating games.
James opted for the former Thursday night, scoring a 12 of his 38 points in the final five minutes of the fourth quarter, in a 104-96 win against the visiting Indiana Pacers.
LeBron James is still figuring out when to take over games and when to defer to his young teammates, for the sake of their growth. Last night, he chose the former. https://t.co/xZVSDRJH7Z
— Tania Ganguli (@taniaganguli) November 30, 2018
The Los Angeles Lakers squandered an early 24-point lead before LeBron carried them to their 10th win in 14 games.
Per the AP:
“That’s the challenge I’ve been kind of battling with since the season started,” James said. “How much do I defer and allow some of our young guys to figure out, and how much do I try to take over games? 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.”
He’s playing the fewest minutes per game in his career, and he is learning to delegate responsibility for ball-handling and big shots.
But when the Lakers need the four-time league MVP to put them on his shoulders, the 16-year veteran can do that, too.
“I figured I wouldn’t have the ball in my hands as much, coming into the season and knowing the multiple ball-handlers that we have on this team,” James said. “Those guys have the ability to make plays as well. But I’m available anytime we need a play to be made. It’s a challenge for me, and it’s an adjustment for me, but whatever it takes to help our ballclub be as great as it can be toward the end of the season, and at the same time getting better every day.”