Gravity is defined as: “The natural force of attraction exerted by a celestial body, such as Earth, upon objects at or near its surface, tending to draw them toward the center of the body. “. So when people refer to ” Lebron’s gravity ” they are referring to the attention that he draws while he is on the court from opposing defenses. Whether he is getting doubled off a pick or being used as a decoy, the other team is always worried about where he is, which opens up the game for all his teammates.
The last time Staples Center was this ruckus would have to be Kobe’s last game April 2016, and even though Lebron only managed to get thirteen minutes of game-time, there were several examples of how he is already impacting the Lakers two pre-season games in.
This performances probably wasn’t one of his favorite pre-season performances because of the four turnovers, but we were able to see him create not only for himself but for others just by being out there on the court. There were times that the defense was so worried about what Lebron was going to do, that the other Lakers received wide open looks, just by setting a screen or being in the vicinity.
Example #1: Lebron hits McGee on the roll after three Nuggets gravitate towards him.
We can see as Lebron begins to attack, three Nuggets players are directly locked into what Lebron is up to, but there is still space to attack as the Nuggets don’t stop the drive, so Lebron continues to attack. As he does so, McGee slips down the middle of the paint untouched.
Example #2: Here we see Lebron attack on the fast break, drawing the attention of four Nuggets players as he hits the tough runner fading left.
As Lebron hits the shot, four Nuggets players are staring directly at him, another example of the attention that he draws on the court. Because of the fading left, he is able to get the shot off without much bother from the defense and has a beautiful window to bank it in.
Example #3: Lebron again attacks the Nuggets in transition, cruising right down the middle of the paint for the dunk.
Lebron with a full head of steam coming at you has got to be one of the scariest occurrences in the NBA as a defender, so it is understandable how Lebron was able to get such an easy bucket. With four defenders surrounding him, not one of them made a real play at the ball or to stop him, which opened up the lane for him to attack. Lebron has two teammates open on the wings, but he made the right move by not forcing a pass and putting pressure on the defense.
Example #4: Even though Lebron turns the ball over, we see once again how the attention he draws can lead to open looks for his teammates.
Getting this deep into the paint, Lebron could have gotten up a relatively high percentage shot, even with four Nuggets surrounding him, but he saw Ingram in the corner wide open. While Lebron could have thrown a better pass, if Ingram had drifted to his left ever so slightly, it would have given Lebron a better angle away from the defender to hit him with the pass. This is one of those things Ingram and Lebron will improve on as they continue to play together.
Example #5: Lebron sets the screen for Josh Hart, it’s a combination of Lebron’s gravity and lack of communication that gets Hart the wide-open look.
While Lebron doesn’t necessarily set the most mind-blowing screen, the fact that he is Lebron is enough to have both Nuggets stick him on the screen, which leaves Hart wide open on the perimeter. The Nuggets could have avoided this with better communication, as it looks like Millsap expected Morris to fight through the screen and not switch, which leads to too much space for Millsap to cover. This situation is probably fifty-fifty gravity and communication, but the fact that he is Lebron does have a larget impact on the play.