I don't watch him all that much, so don't want to base any thoughts I have about his off-the-ball play on a small sample. So, I bring it to ISH. What do you think of Lebron's off-ball play?
I'm not interested in how you rate him now or all time. I don't care whether you think he's >>>> or <<<<<< than (insert player here). I don't want to hear your implausible trade scenarios that are going to bring him to the Knicks next season. I don't want to hear that he averages 30 and 7 so there's no need to discuss how he gets it done. Just focus on the question and give me your most coherent breakdown of this aspect of his overall game.
He really doesnt, unless mentioned above, for an alley oop. For his game, he doesnt need to, he can score just about anywhere, but if he started moving w/o the ball more, I think it could open that Cavs offense up quite a bit.
I would have to agree its not something he does all that much, other than for the occasional alley-oop, which is potentially a problem for the Cavs, but not much of one in actuality as there is little to no ball movement outside what he provides.
What the cavs really need at this point is a better offensive system, or to be honest an offensive system at all, though it is hard to see how that will happen under the current coach. Maybe a good offensive assistant coach ?
Anyway I would love to see the Cavs with more movement in the offense, Lebron for example should be able to open up all kinds of space for other without ever touching the ball, just be disrupting the opposing defense with cuts.
i don't watch a ton of cavs games, but here's what i've mostly seen in terms of bron working without the ball
- runs baseline and curls up to elbow extended or top of the key to receive the ball. sometimes uses screens, sometimes just beats his man on footspeed. uses this cut simply to get the ball. occasionally will get a quick shot off but usually that has more to do with the defender laying off to take away the drive than any space the cut created him.
- will back door and go to the rim. does this very effectively to get offensive boards and will occasionally receive a lob this way.
- posts his man on the wing (usually left). this seems to be more a means of getting him the ball inside the first shell of a perimeter defense than as a true post possession. generally he will swing around and face up. doubled most of the time so it often leads to a kick out. if not he's usually one dribble away from a finish near the rim like karl malone used to do.
- gets out on the break well. he doesn't always get to the sidelines on his run outs, but he has such great hands and wingspan that even when he doesn't create a good outlet angle, he can still catch and finish. top notch end to end speed.
i think he's moving more than he used to in general, which is a good thing because he's always got the defenders' eyes on him. just being active can open things up for teammates. i'd actually really like to see him screen and seal for his teammates off the ball. imagine him setting a nice down screen for wally and his man having to decide between leaving wally's defender alone on lebron's back in the paint or leaving wally alone for a jumper (mike and kerr ran this a little bit as a sort of side action to the triangle). usually that wouldn't work between a 3 and 2, because the sizes are too close, but lebron's as big as a 4. i think the next stage of his evolution should be to incorporate his size advantage in more ways.
The replies so far pretty much confirm what I thought I saw, which is that his off-ball movement is pretty minimal. This is terrible basketball - even to those of you who said, "he can be effective without it," because even if it doesn't affect him, it affects his team's spacing and therefore, his teammates' ability to get open looks/lanes to exploit.
I'm not blaming Lebron for this, could be that it's all or mostly Brown's fault (especially since I do see a fair amount of complaining about Brown's coaching on here).
Still, with the amount of defensive attention Lebron demands, if he was even marginally more active off-ball, it would have a huge impact on his team's offensive play. For a player who's supposed to have "team player" and "makes things easier on teammates" high on his list of attributes, this is a very odd way to play the game, it essentially forces the ball, once he crosses midcourt, to swing-swing-swing around the perimeter until it ends up back in his hands again, usually pretty much in the same place where he passed it from (again, this is going off of a limited sample).
This is a good thread, since I dont think his off the ball movement is that good. It doesnt have to be like Richard Halmiton's but when it comes to the playoffs and in crunch situations and he is playing as the small forward, he really needs to create enough space for himself so he won't get low shooting percentages and also to help his team mates. It cant be that every game in crunch time, lebron can play as the shooting guard and bring the ball up and drive to the basket or kick out to d.jones or d.gibson for 3 like he did against Toronto since this this does not work against the top top teams.
James is being blamed too much for his off-ball movement (or lack thereof). Players, for the main part, do whatever a play calls for them to do. If the play called for him to pick Delonte's man off the ball and then head to the paint for a lay-up or post, do you really think he'd refuse to?