Doug Gottlieb thinks there is something to the Lakers and their plan to build around LeBron

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Doug Gottlieb talks NBA. Hear what he had to say about LeBron James and the future of the Los Angeles Lakers.

- The story came out yesterday that this was all part of the plan. Brian Windhorst and Ramona Shelburne tag teamed this bad boy, as they said that team president, Magic Johnson, General Manager Rob Pelinka consulted LeBron James on their ensuing agreements with Lance Stephenson, JaVale McGee, and Rajon Rondo.

And so you start to ask yourself, whoa, what plan on earth includes those three? Right? JaVale McGee is most known for acting a fool. Rajon Rondo, who quit on the Dallas Mavericks, and has been at least mildly difficult to coach in every stop that he's been in. And Lance Stephenson's most famous move was blowing in the ear of LeBron James before LeBron James dusted him and the Pacers off in the Eastern Conference finals years back, and of course, beat them this year in the Eastern Conference playoffs. That's what they're known for.

But apparently, at least per the Lakers, what they're trying to get out there is, hey, man, he wanted tough minded playmakers, guys that can make plays, guys that were adults, guys that were grinders, guys that were gritty. And this goes into the Kawhi Leonard Spurs stories. Do you believe it? And I actually do.

There's also the story-- part of the story is that they want LeBron James' plan is to continue to evolve as a player and play out of the post more. If you watch detail, Kobe Bryant, Kobe Bryant pointed out that LeBron needed to play in the post more, specifically against the Celtics, because he knew it would be a long series. And it's the only way for him to catch his breath and use his ridiculous body.

Look at Michael Jordan, end of his career, in the post more. Kobe Bryant, end of his career, in the post more. LeBron James, bigger, stronger, why wouldn't he be in the post more, especially when there's no power forwards in the NBA anymore? They want to play fast? Or play through LeBron in the post?

So do you believe it? I actually do, because if you look at the Lakers roster, what are they missing? It's interesting. Julius Randle is gone. And part of Julius Randle being gone, the expression in basketball is, even the worst team has a leading scorer. Julius Randle scored a lot of points last year. And they were an OK team, but let's be honest. He wouldn't be scoring 16 a game on a playoff caliber team. But he was their small ball five.

There is no small ball 5 on this roster. There is no wing, or small power forward, or small forward, who can guard multiple positions, and can play essentially, as a center. Unless that guy's number 23.

It dawned on me that I was watching the NBA finals, and when the Warriors went small, and LeBron was on the floor, he was guarding Draymond Green. In other words, LeBron James was playing center. The NBA game has changed. Everybody needs a small ball center. So instead of going out and signing one, LeBron said, "That'll be me."

If I'm a small ball 5, one, you're not really small, two, you're going to have a Draymond Green on you. You're going to have a PJ Tucker on you.

This will allow LeBron James to coast a little bit on defense and catch his breath, and allow him to play in the post on offense, and catch his breath. And his best skill that will not decrease, will not dissipate at all, in spite of the fact he's getting into his mid 30s, and even his late 30s is, his passing, which is what you use the low post for now in basketball.

You don't score out of the low post. It's an inefficient shot. That's why they're getting rid of all these centers. That's why the Wizards set Marcin Gortat, just take Marcin Gortat. Sure, we'll take-- we'll take Austin Rivers. Anything to get rid of a low post scoring center.

But if it's a hybrid big guy, who can guard every position, who can score and pass at a low post, that has supreme value. That guy wears number 23 now for the LA Lakers.

So do I believe this is the plan? I do. It's not that they-- it's not like this was the best plan or what they would have dreamed of, but considering the market, Kawhi not yet available for a reasonable price, Paul George not wanting to come. And even if Paul George did come, let's be honest. It's not like Paul George is one of the 10 best players in the NBA. He's in that next group, a really good player.

Next year is the year with all the free agents. Next year, Klay Thompson is available. Next year, Kawhi could be available. I could go through the list of names, but considering what was available, hey, you want some dogs? Some guys that will compete? Some guys that are hungry?

I'll give you Rondo. We need a backup point guard. Here's a guy that started on the NBA championship team, started this year in the playoffs. I'll give you Lance Stephenson. Sure, I don't want him to be one of my three or four best players, but if he's your sixth or seventh best player, it's pretty good. I'll give you JaVale McGee, who is finally now beginning to reach the lofty potential he's always had. And yet, his goofiness got in the way of it early on, whether it was in Denver, or then, even at times with Golden State.

Look at how well he played during the pressure of the NBA finals. He's a rim protector and a guy who requires no maintenance on offense. Doesn't need the ball in order to do what he does. I actually believe this story.