LeBron James’s defense this season has been, let’s say, below average. The lowlights have ranged from letting Serge Ibaka blow by him, to missing his assignment entirely because he was too busy sticking his foot out while trying to stop a pass. It would have surprised no one if James had let Nik Stauskas drive to the hoop and score the two-handed flush late in the third quarter of Lakers vs. Blazers on Wednesday night. But things didn’t happen that way. Something must have clicked inside the mind of the new Laker that allowed actual defensive instincts to kick in and stuff Stauskas into the ground. James punctuated the defensive stop with strong finish at the other end.
We don’t know exactly how much LeBron’s defensive abilities have waned through age, or general lack of trying, but at least we now know that the floor for those abilities is above gettin posterized by Nik Stauskas. I guess that’s reassuring.