Former Cleveland Cavaliers general manager David Griffin joined Bill Simmons on his podcast this week to discuss a few different topics. The biggest thing that struck me was Griffin saying he has never seen any player with the basketball intelligence that LeBron James has.
There’s literally nothing you can show him that he can’t do. There’s no play you’ll run against him he can’t name, and then go out there and teach your players how to do it better than anyone else. I was in the gym when I watched him on the floor against Toronto [in 2017] tell Patrick Paterson where he was supposed to go on the play they had called out of a timeout late in the fourth quarter. He was like ‘no Pat, you’re supposed to stand over there and set a pin down [pick] for Demar over here.’
The Cavs swept the Raptors in that series with an average margin of victory of over 15 points. LeBron has now knocked Toronto out of the postseason in each of the last three seasons, including this year when they were the No. 1 seed. This just proves that LeBron has not only dominated the Raptors on the court, but has them demoralized mentally as well. This anecdote is just another example of LeBron’s greatness, and why the nickname “LeBronto” given to him by Hubie Brown is so perfect.
Griffin’s story also reminded me of this quote from Doc Rivers:
“We beat him a couple times when he was in Cleveland, he was not that way. I’ve never seen a change in a player. I knew we were in trouble in Miami. When he was in Cleveland he was just playing basketball. We get to Miami and he’s calling our plays out, he’s staring over at our bench, he’s reading stuff. And I remember saying, ‘Oh this is not good. This is not good.’”
I can’t lie, the truth is, I used to be a King James hater. But after he brought that chip home to Cleveland, I realized that I was wrong. Now I have come to appreciate his greatness, and stories like this have me wanting more. Can’t wait to see what’s next…