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Air Langhi is offline Old 06-19-2012, 01:05 PM   #1
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http://espn.go.com/blog/truehoop/mia...hrough-5-james
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MIAMI -- It doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, but it may be more fitting than “King.”

Michael Jordan has “Air” for his apparent ability to fly. Kobe Bryant has “Black Mamba” for his ability to strike like a snake at any moment. Earvin Johnson has “Magic” for his ability to perform seemingly supernatural acts with a basketball. And earlier this season, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra gave LeBron James the nickname of “1-Through-5” for his ability to play and defend all five positions on the floor.

Though it may not be a catchy nickname, James finally has one that describes his play on the court rather than one that might feel like a forced coronation. As a basketball player, the 6-foot-8, 260-pound James is defined by being undefined, rendering the positional designations obsolete.

Just look at Game 3 alone. He brought the ball up and ran the offense like a point guard. He nailed a catch-and-shoot 3-pointer from the corner like a shooting guard. He took his man off the dribble from the perimeter to the basket like a small forward. He lived in the paint, set screens and rolled to the rim for buckets like a power forward. And he voluntarily defended Oklahoma City's Kendrick Perkins on the block like a center.

Even nine years into his career, we don’t really know how to characterize James’ position in the game. Is he a small forward? Is he a point guard? Is he a power forward? James has bristled at the idea of being pigeon-holed into one position so Spoelstra made it simple for him.

“Make plays for us, 1 through 5, whatever it takes,” Spoelstra told James. “Don't overthink it.”

You can tell that Spoelstra’s message has resonated with James, who delivered a massively disappointing 2011 Finals performance that raised questions about a possible mental block.

But nowadays, James has sought out to make things simple: make plays.

“I told you guys, last year I didn't make enough game-changing plays and that's what I kind of pride myself on,” James said Sunday after Miami’s Game 3 win. “I didn't do that last year in The Finals. I'm just trying to make game-changing plays, and whatever it takes for our team to win.”

This postseason, “whatever it takes” has not been a small task. Through injuries and lack of depth on the roster, this postseason has required James to change his identity on the court. It’s come to the point where we might one day look back on the 2011-12 playoffs as the time when James morphed into a big man.

It’s hard to accurately capture the evolution that James has undergone here in the playoffs thus far, but here’s one stab at it.

Heading into Game 4, James is currently averaging 30.7 points and 9.7 rebounds in the playoffs. Here’s a long list of players who have averaged at least 30.7 points and 9.7 boards in a postseason during the modern era:

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Shaquille O’Neal. Hakeem Olajuwon.

That’s it. That’s the list. Three of the all-time great centers.

As hard as it is to believe, those are James’ peers now, statistically. James entered the league as a point guard and nine years later he’s putting up numbers of Hall-of-Fame centers. Throw in the fact that James has also averaged five assists per game and the list of players who have averaged 30-10-5 during the playoffs in modern times shrinks to one. Just James.

His numbers are remarkable as it is, but consider that ever since the Indiana series, James is averaging 31.6 points and 10.8 rebounds. That’s no coincidence. Miami’s power forward Chris Bosh went down with an abdominal injury in the opening game against Indiana.

Where many saw adversity, James saw on opportunity.

“I had to change my mentality when Chris got hurt,” James said. “I had to rebound more, I had to attack more, get into the paint more to make up the difference with Chris being until he got back. I just had to change, and it's kind of stayed that way since he got back.”

Embracing his role as a big man hasn’t always been a fluid process. For years, fans have called for James, who is built like Karl Malone, to play as a big man. But setting screens and playing in the post was never a consistent part of his repertoire. However, last season when reserve power forward Udonis Haslem went down with a foot injury that kept him sidelined for months.

At that point, we began to see the pick-and-roll with Dwyane Wade as the ball-handler and James as the screener. We began to see James working from the block. We began to see James the big man.

But James was never fully comfortable with that position because he had to learn it on the fly in the regular season. His unease was crystallized in the 2011 Finals when he refused to back down J.J. Barea, who is generously listed at six-foot and 175 pounds, in the post and passed out instead.

But these days, you’re seeing James routinely pounding the paint and fighting for position on the block. That's where he's comfortable now, that's what he's worked toward ever since he met with Hakeem Olajuwon in the offseason. The numbers say it all. Here in the playoffs, 15.2 percent of James’ offense has been derived from post-up plays according to SynergySports video tracking. That percentage last playoffs? Just 8.3 percent, or about half what he’s doing now.

What’s more stunning is the fact that James has as many post-up plays this postseason as the entire Oklahoma City Thunder team (95).

James’ dependable post-up game and work on the boards (he registered a game-high 14 rebounds in Game 3) have been essential to the Heat's success so far in the Finals despite playing without a true center. How have the Heat have been able to overcome the size advantage in the paint and on the boards? Thunder center Perkins gave his take at Monday’s practice.

“They got LeBron James,” Perkins said.

And then he repeated himself once more, just in case he didn’t make himself clear the first time.

“They got LeBron James.”
Lebron leads his team in points, rebounds, assists, and steals. If he loses he will still get hated on like no other player in the history of sport.
 
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WinorLoseMate is offline Old 06-19-2012, 01:22 PM   #2
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He's averaging 30, 10 and 5 through the whole playoffs? That's insane..
 
KingLeoric is offline Old 06-19-2012, 01:24 PM   #3
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If he won this year, most of the critism against him (arrogant, chokage, the decision and etc) would no longer be valid and I could see the global hate against him coming to an end.
 
J.R. is offline Old 06-19-2012, 01:27 PM   #4
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The King will get his ring and ALL the talk will go away. The talk about James, the talk about firing Spoelstra, the talk about trading Bosh, so on and so forth.
 
WinorLoseMate is offline Old 06-19-2012, 01:32 PM   #5
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You honestly can't hate on a guy for doing EVERYTHING EVERYONE asks of him.. and he does it successfully. His rebounding numbers are huge for a small forward.. the only person that can compete with him in that category at SF is Gerald Wallace. Bosh goes down and Lebron starts playing as a big.. Wade goes down and Lebron becomes primary ball handler. Just a freak of an athlete with the skills to compliment his athleticism.
 
plutoblue11 is offline Old 06-19-2012, 01:33 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KingLeoric View Post
If he won this year, most of the critism against him (arrogant, chokage, the decision and etc) would no longer be valid and I could see the US hate against him coming to an end.
Only in America, people overseas I doubt have a favorable/unfavorable opinion of Lebron, any more than what they did in pre-2010.

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Sleepy Flloyd is offline Old 06-19-2012, 01:48 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WinorLoseMate View Post
He's averaging 30, 10 and 5 through the whole playoffs? That's insane..
Whoa.

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JoeBarelyCares is offline Old 06-19-2012, 02:15 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J.R. View Post
The King will get his ring and ALL the talk will go away. The talk about James, the talk about firing Spoelstra, the talk about trading Bosh, so on and so forth.
Until they come back soft after a summer of partying in South Beach, having lost their eye of the tiger. It happened to Rocky Balboa, it can happen to LeBron. Get ready for the next chapter of the soap opera.
 
Gertso is offline Old 06-19-2012, 02:30 PM   #9
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Never forget.
 
DieHard Rocket is offline Old 06-19-2012, 02:39 PM   #10
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Being critical of Lebron has jumped the shark. If anyone deserves any criticism at all in these playoffs, it's Wade. But his game 3 performance was solid.

Lebron is as dominant from the wing as Shaq was in the paint. He doesn't have quite the skill-set (mostly shooting) as MJ or Kobe but he is his own beast just like Shaq was.
 
plutoblue11 is offline Old 06-19-2012, 02:51 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KingLeoric View Post
If he won this year, most of the criticism against him (arrogant, chokage, the decision and etc) would no longer be valid and I could see the global hate against him coming to an end.
It never was valid to the point where he was hated. There have been alot of hated athletes who were arrogant, dirty players, shallow, and worst of all, FELONS.

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conquistador#11 is offline Old 06-19-2012, 02:53 PM   #12
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Just five positions? try 13 positions! Lebron used to like wade on top but now lebron is the man of that relationship.

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roslolian is offline Old 06-19-2012, 03:03 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeBarelyCares View Post
Until they come back soft after a summer of partying in South Beach, having lost their eye of the tiger. It happened to Rocky Balboa, it can happen to LeBron. Get ready for the next chapter of the soap opera.
This isn't really true, in the NBA once you've done it once you don't need to validate it anymore. For example Dirk dispelled all the "choker"/Irk labels last year, this year they ended in a whimper and nobody calls him soft anymore.
 
Icehouse is offline Old 06-19-2012, 03:19 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KingLeoric View Post
If he won this year, most of the critism against him (arrogant, chokage, the decision and etc) would no longer be valid and I could see the global hate against him coming to an end.
Doubt it. If he wins this year then folks will say he needs to repeat or win the 5, 6, 7 titles he spoke of.
 
Easy is offline Old 06-19-2012, 06:34 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by conquistador#11 View Post
Just five positions? try 13 positions!
1 through 13.

BTW, Magic Johnson was the original 1 through 5. Spo needs to be a little more creative.

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amaru is offline Old 06-19-2012, 06:40 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KingLeoric View Post
If he won this year, most of the critism against him (arrogant, chokage, the decision and etc) would no longer be valid and I could see the global hate against him coming to an end.
A bit of a hyperbole maybe?

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redwhiteone is offline Old 06-20-2012, 01:41 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by conquistador#11 View Post
Just five positions? try 13 positions! Lebron used to like wade on top but now lebron is the man of that relationship.
Good lord that 13 positions theory is ridiculous . LeBron deserves the ring. He deserves it.

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SacTown is offline Old 06-20-2012, 01:53 AM   #18
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It's been a historic playoffs for him. Averaging 30-10-5 is just insane.
 
TEXNIFICENT is offline Old 06-20-2012, 01:56 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SacTown View Post
It's been a historic playoffs for him. Averaging 30-10-5 is just insane.
So is the hate for the guy. Lebron is the best player in the sport & deserves his day in the sun as a champion.

BTW, very happy for Battier, nice tip 2nite!
 

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