Miami Heat’s LeBron James had a less-than-spectacular NBA Finals . . . again.
His performance against the Dallas Mavericks in the 2011 NBA Finals, his fourth-quarter vanishing acts, all have led up to much scrutiny on James during and after the Finals ended.
While many NBA talking heads, sports reporters, and bloggers may be raking James across the coals, NBA great Rick Barry was asked what areas of James’ game should he focus on to improve. Barry gave a laundry list of areas but further states blame should not be placed on James himself, but all the coaches throughout James’ career bear most of the blame for James’ all-around game.
“His shot, first and foremost, because I think that’s where it all comes down to. If you don’t have confidence in your shot, it destroys the rest of your game. … Then, little nuances, facing up, learning how to be the guy learning to use y0ur first dribble to go by instead of everything off the dribble … learning how to use screens probably, then of course the coach running more plays for him where he can run off double and triple staggered screens, learning to curl it properly, learning how to do the little things in the game which, unfortunately, have not been taught to him, which I don’t blame him for. I blame the people who have coached him over the years. To have a talent like this and to not maximize the full potential of this talent is inexcusable and reprehensible to me and the coaches who have had him should be ashamed of themselves.”
Barry has a solid point.
You know how they say, “It’s the little things that count,” well it would appear James may have the strength, power and raw talent but to teach the little things that make a player great seems to have been lost on James.
Time and time again, NBA fans saw James look lost on offense and defense versus Dallas and if he grasped the fine details of the game, perhaps Miami might have forced a Game 7. Case in point, his poor shooting in the fourth quarter during the playoffs and especially in the Finals.
That’s were coaches come in.
Perhaps it was because James is such a basketball prodigy that coaches just tapped into what suited James’ game best and coddled him out of some fear he might gripe and cause a riff between coach and player or worse, make an ultimatum – me or the coach.
Wherever blame falls, one thing is for certain, if James truly wants to win a ring, and teamed up with Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh to accomplish said goal, it would appear, according to Barry, James might have to go back to basics.
(photo: getty images)