Lebron James has always had the size and vision, even coming in as a rookie, combine that with the willingness to share and you get one hell of a pick and roll player. With his shot somewhat improving since the 2004 rookie year, Lebron has become almost unguardable while running the pick and roll.
If you switch he isolates and demolishes whoever is tries to guard him 1 on 1. If you trap, then he has the size to see over double teams, the vision to hit an open man on a dime, and the willingness to do so time and time again. Below are a few examples of how Lebron James has been using the pick and roll this year with his new squad.
Example #1: Lebron bullies the switch.
This pick and roll starts with Damian Lillard initially wanting to switch back, but Al-Farouq Aminu gets caught on Lonzo Ball and stays. This creates an easy mismatch for Lebron, as he just starts to back down Lillard in the post.
We can see Lebron surveying the defense, with a double team from Aminu on the horizon for King James. Lonzo fades to the corner, giving the defense more space to recover on the pass. The window Lebron has to hit is tiny, having to go over Jusuf Nurcic and JaVale McGee, while far away enough that C.J. McCollum cannot intercept it.
While the pass does not directly lead to a basket, the ” Hockey Assist” ends with Ingram attacking an off-balance defense to get a sturdy basket.
Example #2: A ” Le Fuck You ” three on the switch
This time the Kings switch Lebron, and he decides to drop his field goal percentage with an ill-advised contested three. Everyone watching knows Lebron is going to shoot when he backs up after the switch, getting his rhythm to jack up the shot. Surely Luke Walton would instead Lebron attack with a slower defender on him, but with all Lebron’s greatest, you do get shots like this from him every now and then.
Example #3: Using the pick as a decoy to attack
This time Lebron uses the pick as a decoy, setting up Taurean Prince like he is going to use the pick, but then he doesn’t.
Already Prince has his momentum leaning towards the impending screen by JaVale McGee, and with the baseline wide open, Lebron engages in a smoooooth crossover to get into the paint. While he does miss and travel at the same time, this demonstrates Lebron’s ability to see a play before it happens.
Example #4: Defender going under the screen
This time the Atlanta Hawks defender goes under the screen while switching at the same time. This gives Alex Len a lot of space to cover in an attempt to contest the shot, but barely being 30 percent shooter from downtown on the season, this wasn’t a bad move by the defense.
Either scenario ends with a mismatch on the perimeter, so why not make Lebron shoot a semi-contested three instead of putting pressure on the defense via drive to the basket.