Doc Rivers explains what makes LeBron James so great

A week ago, it was a foregone conclusion Giannis will win another MVP award, but LeBron’s weekend performances brought him back into the conversation. For years LeBron would load manage withing games, take a few possessions off, take it easy on defense at times. That opened the door for others to have a better regular season, but it didn’t really matter to Lebron. He won everything there is to win, and the only stat he’s chasing is the number of championship rings.

Every playoff, he would remind us that when the game is on the line, he is still the most complete player in the game – probably the most complete player of all time. Last season, LeBron had his first significant injury, in his 17th season in the NBA. That resulted in the most extended basketball break he’s had since he was 19 years old. James played his last, 55th game of the ’18/’19 season, on March 29th. Never played fewer games, never had a more extended vacation. LeBron came ready to start a new era of Lakers basketball with Anthony Davis.

With his batteries charged and probably the best teammate he’s ever had (Dwayne Wade was past his peak when LeBron came to Miami), LeBron is reminding us that he didn’t dominate regular seasons because he chose so, not because he couldn’t. Doc Rivers explained how he does it in year 18 in the league after last night’s game. 

”I think he’s been amazing all year. It’s just remarkable watching him play. I’ve never seen a guy get better at 35 in sports. He looks stronger, faster, and the other thing, he’s always been a high IQ player. Probably one of the smartest players to ever play basketball. He’s beaten a lot of people with his brain. I think we get lost in LeBron’s physicality too much, and we should think about his brain more. His brain is what makes him great. There’s a lot of people in the league with Lebron’s body. There’s no one in the league with his brain.”

Doc Rivers

Doc Rivers spent a lot of time planning to coach against LeBron while he was with the Celtics, and has seen first hand his evolution from an athletic rookie to a basketball savant. If you look up LeBron on Basketball-Reference and look at his bio, under position, it says: “Power Forward and Point Guard and Small Forward and Shooting Guard.” It seems absurd, but it’s absolutely true. You’re supposed to go down a position as you age – LeBron goes where the game needs him. They should change it to “whatever he pleases.”


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