Lonzo And LeBron Could Play Together

Both Lonzo and LeBron like the ball in their hands, but Ice Cube and Gary Payton think they could make it work

Tiki and Tierney
June 19, 2018 - 6:21 pm

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BIG3 Founder Ice Cube and NBA Hall of Famer Gary Payton dropped by CBS Sports Radio on Tuesday to discuss all things basketball, including LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard and the Los Angeles Lakers.

Los Angeles, of course, is a possible destination for James this offseason. There’s no way he would pass Magic or Kobe in Laker lore, but that’s okay, Ice Cube said. Just come to L.A. and win.

“I don’t think he should come here trying to surpass any Laker,” Ice Cube said on Tiki and Tierney. “Just come here and be LeBron, and we’ll love you. We would have loved Dwight if he would have came here and did his thing. One ring, and we would have loved him like he won five. You don’t have to compete (with past Lakers) here. Just come and play.”

Tiki Barber wondered what would happen if the Lakers acquired James and Leonard. Would they automatically succeed? After all, super teams don’t always work out.

Case in point? Oklahoma City.

“It took them a long time to develop because they didn’t know who was going to be who,” Payton said. “Westbrook fell back a little bit and their team fell off. Carmelo wasn’t Carmelo. Paul George wasn’t Paul George. But when you got LeBron, he changes the dynamic for a lot of things. He can get people involved. So I don’t know. It worked with KD because KD just came in there and just did what he had to do. He just shot the basketball. They already had a great team.”

The Lakers, however, don’t have a great team. In fact, they’ve finished with a losing record in five straight seasons.

“It’s going to take a lot, I think, if (James) comes (to L.A.),” Payton said. “You get one more piece and then you got to put pieces around him. Michael Jordan took a long time to do what he did in Chicago. If you got a lot of time left – which he doesn’t. I think he’s got about four more years.”

Of course, if the Lakers want James, it could cost them Lonzo Ball.

“That’s probably the piece that would have to go,” Payton said. “I would hate to see that. Lonzo’s got to be a little more aggressive and stronger.”

Ice Cube thinks James and Ball could co-exist.

“I think they could play together,” he said. “Lonzo is not a point guard that has to have the ball. He actually gets rid of the ball faster than most point guards.”

But James needs shooters to space the floor. Ball can’t shoot. Isn’t that a problem?

“It doesn’t matter if he can’t shoot,” Payton said. “If Lonzo becomes more aggressive and can score, he doesn’t have to have the basketball. When he gets the basketball, he has great vision where when he attacks, he can kick it back to other people, which would make the game a little bit easier for him. But right now, he doesn’t have that game. He just has to become more aggressive.”