A Word On Lebron James

I think Lebron James is a tremendous player.  Unfortunately, he is a great player who has been playing out of position since he came into the NBA.   I think he has long dreamed of himself as the second coming of Magic Johnson, but it is only a dream.  Magic could play anywhere on the floor and could dominate the game from any position.  That is why, as an individual player, I think he is the greatest player to ever play the game.  Lebron has longed to be seen as the same type of player but that is where the analogy breaks down. Lebron can play the 1 or 2 position, but what lacks from his game is what I feel is holding him back from winning a championship. 

Lebron James needs to learn how to play power forward.  He needs to become the player who moves the power forward position forward.  He wants badly to be Michael Jordan in Karl Malone’s body but he needs to be come the next evolution of Karl Malone.    He has the size, but he runs the floor better than Malone (albeit not much) but his ball handling skills are better than Malone’s and this is what gives him the ability to stretch the position.  Malone would dominate off the block or from the baseline, but he wasn’t a real three point threat.  The Mailman’s domain  was within 15 feet and this is the area where I believe Lebron struggles. 

Dwayne Wade at the 1, Lebron at the 4 and Bosh at the 5 position I feel is the way the Heat need to setup.  Lebron is listed as the 3 (small forward) on the roster, but his play is more of middle 2 and that is far from where he needs to be. 

Let’s remember that Karl Malone would take the 3 if offered but his preference was to play the big man in the pick and roll with John Stockton.  The two of them may be the best combination to ever run the play that is the staple of basketball, yet, you don’t see Lebron running the pick and roll.  His play is on wing with a clear out and him going one on one.  That is how it was in Cleveland and that is how it is in Miami and yet he brings too much attention to the top of the key.  That is the play of a big 2 or small 3 but that doesn’t work for Miami.  Bosh is 6’11” and needs to play the 5.  He has the size and skills to take other big men out of the paint and clear space for Lebron on the post. 

Let’s face it.  Lebron can dunk on anyone in the league and could probably dunk with a spin move off of the block.  Who is going to stop this?  Can you see Lebron with a jump hook?  Who is stopping this?  If a team puts a big man on him, Bosh and Wade kill them.  If an opponent moves their big man with to the top of the key or spreads it out, then Bosh can eat them alive off of the dribble.  How about a pick and roll between Bosh and James?  Are you kidding me? 

Remember that Michael Jordan’s Bulls had big players who could step out the foul line. Horace Grant had a nice jumper.  Bill Wennington could step to the corner and bury the three or he could shoot it from 15-18 feet. 

That play is not in Lebron’s game right now.  When he commits to that he and his teammates will dominate like they claim.  Until then, they will get chewed up by teams they should beat.

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