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LeBron James: “I’m still getting better”

Aug 9, 2013, 2:11 PM EDT

LeBron James was making his first tour of the Philippines recently, a Nike sponsored tour to boost his brand in on of the world’s real basketball hotbeds.

The tour was filled with the usual appearances and a few games. And he didn’t really say anything you wouldn’t expect, but one thing he said could be scary for the rest of the NBA.

“I’m still getting better,” LeBron said. “I don’t want to be the same player I was this past season, I want to come into this season a new, improved, better LeBron James. We’ll see what happens, man. But I will come back a better player.”

LeBron does work on his game in the offseason — he didn’t used to be able to hit threes, now he does at a 40.6 percent clip last season. He developed a post game. And there are always things that can be added to the mix.

Frankly, he is going to have to be a little better next season for Miami to complete a three-peat — the Pacers will be better with experience and depth (and Danny Granger), the Bulls get Derrick Rose back, the Nets added talent for a one or two year run, and the Knicks defense could be better as well. Miami needs a healthier Dwyane Wade, more out of Chris Bosh, more out of the role players and mostly more out of LeBron James to overcome that.

  1. bux1022 - Aug 9, 2013 at 2:16 PM

    ” …the Knicks defense can be better.” Wow I guess this is a positive coming from you! Can’t bash them to much this year look how that back fired on you last year. A quick learner aren’t we!

    • skinsfanwill - Aug 9, 2013 at 2:27 PM

      I like the Knicks, but you gotta be blind not to see that their defense stinks. Really tho!!!! Matter of fact, what defense?

      • redbaronx - Aug 10, 2013 at 11:43 PM

        I’m not even sure I’d describe the Knicks as improved this year. To say “Improved Defense” I think Kurt must be thinking about Ron Artest. Problem is, I don’t think Artest has much left in the tank, and the Knicks got older.

        The only teams the Heat have to worry about in the East are Indiana and Chicago. The Nets are definitely improved, but largely based on players at the end of their careers and I get the feeling Kidd is not going to be a good coach. He has too many personal problems, and I can’t remember the last time a player immediately transitioned from Player to Head Coach in the NBA without serving as a coach in some capacity. Closest analogy I can think of is Avery Johnson, and even he sat on the bench as an assistant at least for a year or two.

      • Kurt Helin - Sep 4, 2013 at 12:09 AM

        World Peace is still a defensive upgrade, plus they get a healthy Shumpert for a full season.

      • redbaronx - Sep 5, 2013 at 9:30 PM

        @Kurt – I think you COULD be right, that MWP COULD be a defensive upgrade. But this depends on him being in shape and having a really committed summer to make sure father time isn’t catching up with him. MWP has been on a steady decline and can’t always keep up with his assignments last year. Players in their mid 30’s fall off real fast. Auerbach had a saying that it was better to trade a player a year early, then a year late. Unless the guy’s name is Kobe….or Michael, I think Red had a great point. The Knicks haven’t been very good the last decade, and I think it starts at the top with Dolan and this “Rent-A-Player” attitude. If anything the finalists in the NBA in recent years proves two things: You get GREAT players as free agents (Miami/LA/Boston) that are mid to late career (not end of career), or you build championship caliber from the ground up (OKC, Indiana, Chicago).

        I’m totally on board with Shumpart and I’ve been championing him, but MWP could be a wasted contract that isn’t going to do anything for the Knicks.

      • Kurt Helin - Sep 5, 2013 at 11:27 PM

        I watched MWP up close the last couple years and his defense has slipped. He’s still an upgrade for the Knicks, just not as much as some Knicks fans think.

    • mytthor - Aug 10, 2013 at 3:35 AM

      Yeah, the Knicks really taught a lesson to all the doubters. Like, by sneaking out of the first round against a team missing its best player.

  2. legend30 - Aug 9, 2013 at 2:26 PM

    I wouldn’t be surprised if Melo decided to take his talents to join James and Wade next summer. Pat Riley is already prepared for next summer.

    • zoomy123 - Aug 9, 2013 at 4:13 PM

      As a Heat fan I’m not even sure this would work. It sounds nice, although Melo doesn’t really fit with the Heat: he can’t score without dominating the ball, he can’t facilitate the offense, and he can’t really pass that well. Plus, unless Melo, D-Wade, Bosh, and James all decide to take $10 M a year this will never work out salary cap wise.

    • adamsjohn714 - Aug 10, 2013 at 4:55 PM

      I wouldn’t be surprised if Riley doesn’t sign him. He ain’t worth the paycheck.

  3. danielgmz - Aug 9, 2013 at 2:29 PM

    I think the biggest hole of his game at this point is hitting free throws and shooting off the drible.
    If he can add that, I can’t figure how he’s going to be stopped.

  4. ringjames - Aug 9, 2013 at 2:30 PM

    LeBron will form the 60-45-80 club

    • spthegr8 - Aug 9, 2013 at 2:58 PM

      @ring
      LeBron is a BEAST but, that’s a lot. Even for him!! Him improving from what he did last year (Statistically ) is just CRAZY to even think about. He isn’t going to get worse so I guess it is possible…????

    • asimonetti88 - Aug 9, 2013 at 3:04 PM

      LeBron’s best FT% is 78%. His career FT% is 74.7%. Even as his 3P% has trended up, his FT% has stayed flat in the mid 70s.

    • elcapitanfiscal - Aug 9, 2013 at 4:05 PM

      Thats probably impossible, but he can get close..

      I think he could average a near triple double on the season though, more so than he already does..that’s a bad man

      • spthegr8 - Aug 9, 2013 at 4:44 PM

        @elcapitan
        Nothing is impossible. I mean, the Mav’s won a championship. If that’s not proof, than I don’t know what is!!

  5. barkleyblows - Aug 9, 2013 at 2:33 PM

    Yes, PEDs will do that!

  6. dysraw1 - Aug 9, 2013 at 2:38 PM

    every player should aspire to get better every year, because those high flying dunks lead to career ending injury when you get up in age. every great players game that i have known has and should evolve. being dedicated to your craft is special

  7. legend30 - Aug 9, 2013 at 2:42 PM

    Summer of 2014. Melo will be 30 years old and is going to start feeling pressure that he still doesn’t have a ring, “My window is closing” (From Carmelo). People keep saying Lakers or Knicks, but I think he would only seriously consider the Lakers only, if LeBron also decided to go to the Lakers (Highly unlikely). Why not join two of his closest friends in South Beach? Oh, yeah did I forgot to mentioned… They have Pat Riley! And Erik Spoelstra has become one of the top coaches! Not two … not three … not four…

    • adamsjohn714 - Aug 10, 2013 at 4:56 PM

      Why would they sign Carmelo? They win because they do things like play defense and score efficiently. Carmelo……doesn’t.

  8. cantonbound13 - Aug 9, 2013 at 2:48 PM

    Another off season of PED use & hair loss.

    • legend30 - Aug 9, 2013 at 3:14 PM

      Another off-season you have to deal with LeBron getting another ring.

      • gmsingh123 - Aug 10, 2013 at 1:27 PM

        > Another off-season you have to deal with LeBron getting another ring.

        It took baseball almost twenty years to do anything serious about it’s corruption–BB seems to be on the same pace. Do all the LeBron fans think b-ball is full of rainbows and unicorns?

    • elcapitanfiscal - Aug 9, 2013 at 4:06 PM

      You keep looking for ways to hate to lebron, it’s sad

    • chemus08 - Aug 10, 2013 at 2:23 AM

      Maybe you should be taking some Performance Enhancing Drugs to help the performance of your clearly lacking brain function

  9. antistratfordian - Aug 9, 2013 at 3:10 PM

    “Frankly, he is going to have to be a little better next season for Miami to complete a three-peat…”

    If LeBron puts up a better season than he did last year he will be putting up the greatest season of all time – and it would be sensationalism to say that the greatest season of all time is a requirement for this Miami team to take the East next season.

    And I’m not sold on the Pacers improving or the Bulls being a threat. In my opinion, the Pacers didn’t really improve from 2012 to 2013 , so we can’t assume that they will improve from 2013 to 2014. And Granger? I find him to be more cancer than cure.

    2012 Pacers – 42 wins – .636 win % – 7th ranked offense
    2013 Pacers – 49 wins – .605 win % – 20th ranked offense

    Yes the Pacers took the Heat to 1 more game than they did the year before. But one more game was all it was. Remember, the elimination game was not close (just like the year before). The gap between the Pacers and the Heat – and their star players – was vivid and vast.

    People may say, “but the Pacers made it to the Eastern Conference Finals!”… You must realize that if the Pacers didn’t have to play the Heat in the 2nd round in 2012 that they would’ve made it that far the year before as well. So I don’t see that as a sign of major improvement either.

    And the Bulls — well if they couldn’t get it done against Miami in 2011 when the Heat were at their weakest and Chicago was healthier and deeper, what makes anyone think they can compete with them in 2014?

  10. legend30 - Aug 9, 2013 at 3:20 PM

    People are so desperate to find a way to hate on the King. You guys mad you can’t say “Ringless” anymore? Kobe is the one using PED’s, how is he always coming back from these injuries… Kobe is 34 and is soon to turn 35, and he’s already expecting to comeback for the season opener from a torn Achilles?

    • hannsta - Aug 9, 2013 at 3:54 PM

      New surgery techniques, duh. Akin to Armstrong’s new training techniques.

    • musician0785 - Aug 9, 2013 at 4:00 PM

      and THIS is the problem with Heat fans…..and people say Laker fans are insufferable….NOTHING in this article mentions Kobe, but here comes heat fan fresh off banner number 3 (lakers still have 3 times as many) taking shots…….your team has been good for about 5 minutes, and your superstar player looks like he’s about 40…..oh yea and where was the biogensis clinic? MIAMI….leave kobe out of this…..you have the pacers and nets to worry about

      • legend30 - Aug 9, 2013 at 4:22 PM

        Didn’t Kobe told Alex Rodriguez about the Germany treatment? Why is Kobe even friends with Alex Rodriguez? That’s the last person I want to be around. LeBron looks 40, okay? Other than that I have nothing against Kobe and the Lakers. And I wasn’t the one that brought up PED’s in the first place. We have the Nets and Pacers to worry about? Nets looks good on paper, but so did the Lakers last year. You honestly think Jason Kidd can handle that pressure as a rookie head coach? The Pacers are legit, but until they actually beat the Heat, then I still like the Heat chances to beat them again. With that being said, it’s not fair to question if LeBron or Kobe uses PED’s because no one works harder than these two to be the best.

      • musician0785 - Aug 9, 2013 at 4:29 PM

        liking your comment is LAME….yes Kobe told Arod about it….he also told Andrew Bynum, Lamar Odom, Gilbert Arenas, ETC….whats your point. Your’e asking why a super rich athlete is friends with another super rich athlete? really? are you THAT dumb? of course you like the heat to beat those other teams YOU’RE A FAN…..if Jesus, and Superman were on the pacers or nets you would say the same thing….and yes I do like Jkidd as coach, Mark Jackson seemed to do pretty well as a rookie….not to mention both those guys are better coaches than Riley’s puppet over there….

      • hannsta - Aug 9, 2013 at 4:32 PM

        Seeing that even the most blatantly delusional pro-laker comments get 50/50 thumbs up/down, its pretty safe to assume that half this blog’s readers are Laker fans. Nothing wrong with taking shots at them every now and again!

      • legend30 - Aug 9, 2013 at 4:46 PM

        Now look what happened with Andrew Bynum, Lamar Odom, and Gilbert Arenas. All of them are dealing with some sort of personal issues. Of course he can be friends with other rich athletes, but Alex Rodriguez is that one athlete I wouldn’t want to hang out with. And why are you keep talking about the Nets and Pacers? Aren’t you a Lakers fan? Are you afraid to talk about the new era of, Jim Buss? You don’t have to be so upset because you have to deal Pringles as the head coach for another year. Pacers are a great team, I didn’t say anything bad about them. Like I said before the Nets look good on paper, but lets see how they play, before saying their better than the Heat.

      • ericpaul23 - Aug 12, 2013 at 1:43 AM

        @musician0785 you lost the argument as soon as you mentioned the location of the biogenesis clinic…LAME…and Laker/Celtic fans mentioning past championships is completely irrrelevant…95% of Heat fans are bandwagoners who started following the heat after Lebron joined them..Thats human nature..I have a jumpman tattoo..guess during which decade basketball became my favorite game??? the 90s..Am I a Chicago bandwagoner??? NO..(I dislike people who credit Derrick Rose with the success of the current Bulls team)…Kobe was easily the best individual baller after that…Lebron entered the league and started dominating a few years after his debut..Kobe was still winning championships when Lebron was already the best talent but couldn’t deliver postseason glory at Cleveland…But now he is..clearly being the greatest athlete in the league with matching performances…DEAL WITH IT!!!

    • redbaronx - Aug 10, 2013 at 11:51 PM

      @legend30 – I love how you LeBron lovers turn ANYTHING into how people “hate” LeBron. The article didn’t have anything you could even perceive to be “hating” on LeBron, and yet here’s your comment! Every article I see online about LeBron, you “LeBron Lovers” go on some rant about “haters”. Ditto for Kobe Lovers.

      Get a life!

  11. program33 - Aug 9, 2013 at 3:52 PM

    It bothers me that Lebron has to work so hard in games. And we do not hear or “see proof” that the other 2 of the big three are working just as hard to improve their games.

    • adamsjohn714 - Aug 10, 2013 at 4:59 PM

      holding other players to the standard set by Lebron is pretty unfair. It’s not like they don’t work hard. It’s that Lebron just works harder.

  12. kingwithringz - Aug 9, 2013 at 4:05 PM

    LeBron getting better? Scary. Very scary.

  13. 6thsense79 - Aug 9, 2013 at 4:11 PM

    D-Wade had a great regular season last year. Is that not proof enough for you? He averaged 21.2 ppg 5 rebs and 5.1 assists. He shot a career high 52.1% from the field. His PER (player efficiency rating) was 24.04. 7th highest in the league and highest PER for a shooting guard. Yes even higher than Kobe. Not sure what more Wade could have done to show he worked on his game. Bosh also shot a career high 53.5% from the field last season. His points and rebounds were down though but he was 29th in the league in PER. Better than Dirk, Marc Gasol or KG.

  14. vi3tguy415 - Aug 9, 2013 at 7:07 PM

    hey LeBron’s dik sucker. why did you block me? is it because I stated the obvious? that you a lways write about him?

  15. jbeagles23 - Aug 9, 2013 at 7:35 PM

    Why are laker fans even talking? That’s an 8th seed at best

    • Nostrils10 - Aug 9, 2013 at 7:47 PM

      GO LAKERS WOOOOOOO!!!!

  16. Nostrils10 - Aug 9, 2013 at 7:46 PM

    ok ok ok… I can appreciate what Lebron has/is/will do but why can’t someone have a negative opinion on Lebron??? All these men on here acting like females, and HAVE to say something to defend their hero, let it go!!!!! You guys don’t know how to handle your achievements, shows a lot about a mans character. You guys act like you were a part of helping them win a championship, adorable….

    maybe it’s me getting older, and hey I’m not perfect and realize it, because I would defend my teams honor to the death, but when I was like 13, now I can appreciate the game for what it is… don’t believe the hype and appreciate it, there is more than one great player, and once you realize that watching sports is that much more fun!

    With that said…. Khawi Leonard & Paul George are getting better too, and I personally can’t wait to watch those battles between those 2 and Lebron. He is still gonna take it to them, but those two play him the best of anyone, gonna be cool to see

    • legend30 - Aug 9, 2013 at 8:01 PM

      Fair enough. But don’t forget about Jimmy Butler.

      • Nostrils10 - Aug 9, 2013 at 9:04 PM

        no disrespect intended… don’t know how he slipped my mind.

      • gmsingh123 - Aug 10, 2013 at 1:28 PM

        There really is no telling how far these rising stars will rise.

  17. ProBasketballPundit - Aug 9, 2013 at 9:38 PM

    It is very fortunate for us (fans) that LeBron started working to improve. He was always great naturally but since he came to Miami he has started working on his game in the off season… and winning championships. There’s been a lot of guys with ridiculous levels of talent who have never realized their potential because they just don’t have the right attitude or work ethic. Anyway, he’s made the NBA better.

    • sportsfan18 - Aug 10, 2013 at 12:44 PM

      I give credit where credit is due. LeBron has been stepping up and improving his game for years and years now. I’m not a Heat or LeBron fan, am older and grew up outside of Chicago so the Bulls have been my team since before MJ arrived as I was in the old stadium watching the A-Train play center for the Bulls.

      Anyway, LeBron has IMPROVED his FG% for 6 CONSECUTIVE seasons.

      7 seasons ago, his FG% wasn’t low either, it was .476% and then he improved it for the next 6 consecutive seasons.

      A bit of info on his .476% being his lowest in his last 7 seasons. Most say that Kobe had a great offensive season this past year and he did. He shot .463% from the field and that was good for him as it’s above his career FG%.

      LeBron has increased many other of his stats and areas of his game over the past 5 to 7 yrs too.

      Again, I’m not a fan of his but he has worked on his game and improved a lot…

      In his past 6 sesons, LeBron has averaged more total rebounds per game than his career average per 36 min’s of court time.

      5 out of his last 6 seasons, he’s averaging more assists per 36 min’s of court time than his career average.

      So he’s shooting better, rebounding better, dishing out more assists.

      He’s led the league in PER each of the last 6 yrs too and he’s now 2nd all time just behind MJ and will pass his as soon as this coming yr, most likely…

  18. realninerfan22 - Aug 9, 2013 at 9:42 PM

    Lbjs name was brought up in that same clinic a rod is in trouble for. But like usual the media (his fanz) doesn’t mention it at all. Where there’s smoke there’s fire.. Im just waiting on one of these NBA reporters to actually have the balls to investigate it. We all know kurt helin wat.. He’s president of lbjs fan club

    • Kurt Helin - Sep 6, 2013 at 2:38 AM

      Again, I have seen those reports, and it is the hearsay of an assistant with no physical evidence who saw people she says are LeBron’s people picking up stuff. That’s not good enough evidence, which I will say as a reporter who has a Journalism degree and have dealt with lawyers on what is legal to run and what is not because it’s libelous. If you think the media wants to protect LeBron over breaking a huge story, I’m not sure what planet you live on.

  19. saintjohnwhodat - Aug 9, 2013 at 11:05 PM

    He can get better, he will never be mj

    • mydoghasfleez - Aug 10, 2013 at 12:35 PM

      You mean old & fat?

    • legend30 - Aug 10, 2013 at 1:00 PM

      You’re right he will never be like MJ … He will be better than MJ

  20. bkbouncer - Aug 10, 2013 at 12:10 AM

    I wouldn’t be surprised if Melo decided to take his talents to join James and Wade next summer. Pat Riley is already prepared for next summer.
    ——————————————————–
    You would be the only person who isn’t surprised. Carmelo Anthony isn’t signing for anything less than a maximum contract. If you had been following the NBA prior to the lockout you would have known this, because he forced the trade out of Denver when he did to ensure he got at least the max under the old CBA. But, since the Heat didn’t when their title until after the lockout, I wouldn’t expect you to know that.

  21. dziner305 - Aug 10, 2013 at 12:36 AM

    To: Kurt Helin and the haters…like Pat Riley told Dany Ainge last year: “go worry about your teams…” Imagine we get better, the competion will not be able to come close to us. Wade was playing with injury 2 playoffs in a row. Bosh was playing out of his natural pf position…and we are still 3 straight Finals and 2 back-to-back championships later. What does that mean? You need to counsel the competition ways to surpass the Heat. Until thenif we, the Heat keeps getting better, NO COMPETITION, GAME OVER!!!

  22. onlyavoice - Aug 10, 2013 at 10:34 AM

    I Agree With Others That It Would Be Nice To See Some Articles On Wade, Bosh & Co. Training To Get Better.
    For Years (Before Lebron) I Would Get So Pssed That Wade Would Come Into Camp Out Of Shape & Start The Season With An Injury, I Called Him Mr.Part Time.
    I Would Assume That With 3/4 Of The Team Being In A Contract Year That They’re All Training, All Working On Getting Better, All Looking To Win That 3rd Championship That’ll Give Them That Big Contract Elsewhere.
    I’ll Bet Bosh Is But I Doubt Wade Is. He Knows He’s A Lifer With The Heat So He Doesn’t Care, Just Ride Lebron & Co. While He Can. (I’ll Bet The House He Starts Training Camp With An Injury).
    I Expect To See A Very Dominate Heat Team From Start To Finish This Season, & The Finish They Will Be Holding The 2014 NBA Championship Trophy.

    • Kurt Helin - Sep 6, 2013 at 2:28 AM

      Someone asking for more Heat posts?

  23. northstarnic - Aug 10, 2013 at 12:15 PM

    A

  24. themagicfanguy - Aug 10, 2013 at 1:47 PM

    @legend30 The one thing that is very clear is that you are a Heat bandwagoner. I understand being confident in your team and that makes sense, but LBJ is three rings and about 6 years of league dominance from catching Kobe on the list let alone MJ.

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