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Iggy says LeBron has peeled back on his intensity, physically

Mar 26, 2011, 5:00 PM EDT

Philadelphia 76ers v Miami Heat Getty Images

Andre Iguodala was asked Friday if he’d noticed any changes in LeBron James‘ game since joining the Heat. His answer wasn’t what you’d expect:

“I’ve only noticed one small thing,” Iguodala said before taking time to find the right words.

“I shouldn’t say he doesn’t jump as high, because he does jump as high,” Iguodala said. “But he doesn’t spend too much energy trying to dunk on guys. He makes the easy play now.”

Iguodala elaborated.

“He doesn’t go down the lane and do a windmill in the half-court set or backwards dunk it. It’s kind of like ‘just get the finish.’ He’s preserving his body for the long haul and I see that.”

via Iggy: LeBron “makes the easy play now” – Heat Index Blog – ESPN.

James responded by saying that he was saving himself for the playoffs, even admitting he’s been “a little banged up” this season, as just about every NBA player usually is. James also threw down several nasty dunks including one huge one in transition in the Heat win over the Sixers Friday night.

Iguodala also apparently hadn’t watched tape enough to see what’s been going on with the Heat in their sets, particularly where James is now playing off-ball:

Wade is getting to control the ball late in games and James is not only letting him do it but playing into the plan by setting screens to free his teammate up. Just a plain pick-and-roll — but it can be brutal to handle if it is executed just right and everyone buys into it.

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra and Wade have been gently trying to sell this to James for some time now, but it was understandably foreign to the two-time Most Valuable Player. He was used to getting the screens in crunch time and playing isolation, not setting the screens and waiting for a pass if it came his way.

Getting James to make changes to his game has always been a process, even when he was much younger and not so set in his ways. For example, it took two seasons of drilling under Mike Brown for James to fully commit to playing defense, and he quickly became one of the better defenders in the league.

It is possible that failing in so many close games with the ball solely in his hands this season — for which he felt compelled to apologize to his teammates — may have convinced him to try something new. The early returns are helping.

“I think he’s starting to see that this can open up his overall game, and he’s going to want to do it more,” Wade said last week, almost as a plea for James to continue to set those screens and let him control the ball.

via Heat reveal two truths in win over Sixers – Heat Index Blog – ESPN.

LeBron James being able to play off-ball was one of the biggest lures of the preseason hype surrounding the Heat but instead, James and Wade have primarily been switching back and forth on who’s going to do the ISO work. If they actually manage to figure this little tweak out? It could be curtains for a team expecting a win in the playoffs.

Then again, this is the Heat who have failed in just about every what if this season. Still, interesting to consider.

 

 

  1. mharenza - Mar 26, 2011 at 6:09 PM

    I don’t understand the point of this post. Iguodala said that James is trying to do crazy things that take an exacting physical toll because he is focused on the long haul. Then this Matt Moore fellow says, “Iguodala also apparently hadn’t watched tape enough to see what’s been going on with the Heat in their sets, particularly where James is now playing off-ball”. What does Iguodala’s quote have to do with that? Literally, it makes no sense.

    • secdominance - Mar 26, 2011 at 7:09 PM

      you’re forgetting the media has to bash Lebron at every opportunity. I’m surprised the writer didn’t throw in a “Lebron isn’t trying his hardest” angle.

  2. trickybastard - Mar 26, 2011 at 7:02 PM

    Non story

  3. scorp16 - Mar 26, 2011 at 8:27 PM

    Matt Moore has obviously peeled back his journalisitic capabilities.

  4. packymalley - Mar 27, 2011 at 5:11 AM

    LeBron is a beast…when he wants to. He also proved he is a quitter. I have never witnessed anything like Game 5 last year CLE vs BOS. No wonder Cleveland fans are hot. He quit on them in the series and then left town, exhibiting zero class in the process. LeBron is not even a young guy anymore. These are his peak years and after this year it will be 9 years and how many rings? What are we to witness? The King of what? We are all witnessing a spoiled egomanic who had the world in his hands and threw it all away. He is probably the best player in basketball but he is not a winner. It is strange. He also wants mega-superstar treatment but proved he is not the go to guy. He went to Wade! I never thought he would do that. He wants to be the King, but is being played as a pawn by Pat Reilly. When it is all over for LeBron he will have inherited the earth but he has no soul. Poor guy. I almost feel sorry for him.

  5. thestudiokida - Mar 27, 2011 at 10:57 AM

    1) Cleveland got obliterated in Game 5 last year and had zero chance of winning so what would you people have LeBron do? He also had a triple double and insane-energy game in Game 6 so he didn’t quit.

    2) This IS a relevant article because Iggy is somewhat correct. LeBron has changed his game in Miami, taking less shots at the rim and shooting jumpers more successfully. He’s still a baller and will still make incredible plays but he has a new approach that hopefully has him ready to go in the playoffs. Every player makes changes as they get older and their body shows wear & tear.

    • mharenza - Mar 27, 2011 at 11:00 AM

      Yeah, that part of the story is absolutely relevant. Matt Moore seems to be trying to indicate that Iggy was somehow disrespecting Lebron when he clearly wasn’t. Evidenced by everything Moore writes after the relevant first paragraph.

  6. barklikeadog - Mar 27, 2011 at 7:07 PM

    Hate the heat! might as well since you don’t have to add any letters!

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