Tuesday, May 31st, 2011 at 9:10 am  |  39 responses

LeBron James Will Occasionally Guard JJ Barea

Fresh off of shutting down Derrick Rose, Erik Spoelstra says that LeBron James will try to slow down an even smaller and more elusive player in the NBA Finals. From ESPN: “Forget about all the talk about which Miami Heat player will defend Dirk Nowitzki. Who is going to defend J.J. Barea? Believe it or not, at times it’ll be the Heat’s best defensive player, LeBron James. How much does the Dallas Mavericks’ shifty little guard concern the Heat? They’re actually putting him in the same sentences as the league’s Most Valuable Player. With a straight face. ‘If you don’t treat him with the same type of respect as we did with Derrick Rose, he can really come in and have an impact on the game,’ Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. ‘I’m sure there will be some possessions where LeBron will be on him.’ OK, so James will also be guarding Nowitzki, likely in the fourth quarters. And Barea plays only about 18 minutes a game. While there is so much attention being paid to who can put a dent in the Nowitzki Express, there’s a reason why Barea is getting a prominent position in Miami’s scouting report. It isn’t just what he does, but what happens to the Mavericks’ offense when he’s in the game. One of coach Rick Carlisle’s most effective weapons during the playoffs has been his shooting/spread offense with Barea playing the equivalent role of Chris Paul.”

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  • rkirby

    Why not Dwyane Wade?

  • gregor

    Because LeBron said so.

  • Tupack Shackur

    I can’t wait to see them unleash JJ on LeBron… JJ doesn’t have the same pressure to score, and I feel like he’s even more elusive than DRose was.

  • T-Money

    rkirby: because lebron is a better defender, especially against point guards. on the other hand, not sure there’s an advantage to bron guarding dirk. between Joel, Bosh and UD, miami has enough. you’re not going to stop him.

  • Riggs

    only person who can stop dirk his himself at this point (if he gets cold in shooting and misses everything), MIA is just going to have to shut everyone else down.

  • T-Money

    riggs: let’s not overstate this dirk as a mythical, unstoppable force either. these one-legged fade aways don’t always hit. actually, he had two very ordinary games vs miami this year.

  • rkirby

    So wait why were people complaining that DWade didnt make first team all-defensive when his team doesn’t trust him with challenging assignments?

  • Vince

    I don’t think Dirk is like a mythical beast at this point, but I think he’s proven that RIGHT NOW no one can effectively guard him. Worst case scenario he can get to the line pretty frequently where he shot 59-61 vs OKC. And Dirk is the only player I know of that can have a 48 point night taking only 15 shots. I think he has an advantage over lebron though, namely a 4 or so inch height advantage. I think Dirk is going to be able to get good looks vs Lebron for that very reason. I think Bosh or Haslem will be best on Dirk for Miami

  • logues

    Co-sign Riggs. Dude is most unstoppable player in the leauge right now. he is slow but somehow gets to where he wants like paul pierce, and even blows by defenders sometimes (ask serge ibaka). his shot release is so high noone is going to block it or even alter it that much. even when it looks like they got him stuck he’ll do one of his pump fake- pivot- and fade aways that are deadly. there is no way to stop him, just hope he misses.

  • T-Money

    rkirby: so, by your logic, if dwade (listed as G) is not better at defense than lebon (listed as F) then he can’t be better at defense than kobe? what’s that got to do with the price of cheese?

  • Sparker

    james posey and cap’n jack stopped dirk pretty decisively when their numbers were called. is he really such a different player now? he’s vulnerable against forwards with length and strength who are disciplined enough not to leave their feet and will push him around when the refs aren’t looking. lebron has the first three things, but not the fourth.

  • rkirby

    T-Money: The All-Defensive team is based on a coaches’ opinions. I am not saying that D Wade is not a better defender than Kobe(that’s very debatable especially after this past season), but I would like to see DWade take on that challenge of guarding Barea and D Rose just as one of the leaders on the team. Why is he folding over and letting LeBron call out defensive assignments? Coaches take notice of these things and so do some fans.

  • http://slamonline.com 1982

    @Sparker have you been watching this year? Or just replays of old seasons?

  • hagekg

    t-money, thats real BS of what u r saying. We all have seen how d wade play defense in this playoff. Go watch all the highlight starting from first round to finals. Lebron got defensive help on the perimeter from wade too. All great players in the league takes more than one guy to stop. It takes a team. Plus judging on statistics alone, ppl know d-wade deserves the first team defense award. Dont hide away from facts, please.

  • hagekg

    sorry T-money, the above message is for rkirby….

  • AD

    this is why Lebron is better than MJ….. HE CAN GUARD ANYBODY….. Mj on the otherhand had sottie guardn the best players mots of the time.

  • Riggs

    @T-Money: those were regular games. Look at his post-season play and tell me it isnt on another level? especially in the 4th quarter.

  • Riggs

    @AD: please gtfo here.

  • AD

    @Riggs: go kick rocks …. mj aint LEBRON

  • http://pickandroll.tumblr.com/ airs

    lebron has how many rings?
    i cant…omg.. nvm this is just ridiculous.

  • AD

    @airs Lebron has 1……. he has seven more to go lol

  • http://www.facebook.com/joe.l.brewer3 BlackPhantom

    I don’t think this’ll work out well for Spolestra.

  • http://www.bulls.com Rigo Gonzalez

    LeBron has a ring already?
    Wow! I missed the whole finals?!

  • Demigod

    He had no major problems with Rose so it’s all G. Bron will stay in front of him , challenge his shot & swat his ish into the 3 row if he tries to take it to the hole. No probs with that. If Dirk tries to guard Wade occasionally he will be wearing a spalding hat + i don’t like the Larry Bird comparisons as Larry had 1000 times more heart & was one of the illest passers of all time. Diggle Diss Beehatch !!! (sorry got a little crazy, can’t wait for the game 2nite) GO HEAT !!

  • MikeC.

    Yeah, Lebron will occasionally guard JJ Barea. On switches. Since Barea can shoot from outside, he’s going to be a different look than anything the Bulls had. Barea wakes up in attack mode, and since he’s a sub, he doesn’t have to conserve energy throughout the game like Rose did. JJ will be 100% attack for 100% of the time he’s on the court.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Eboy


  • http://www.milkthebull.com ryansouth

    Good article. Did anyone see the funny story about the Chris Bosh trade???


  • http://www.slamonline.com Slick Ric

    I dont think he is going to do that great of a job on jj, he has so many shooters surrounding him so his teammates are going to be able to lend alot of help.

  • rkirby

    @hagekg First off, I’m not saying that Kobe is necessarily a better defender than DWade. I think we can all agree that stats do not always tell the whole story defensively. Personally I would’ve given Tony Allen one of those spots on the All-Defensive team. What I am saying is that I would like to see DWade take it upon himself to become a defensive stopper like Lebron and even Kobe have, regardless of whether he’s better statistically or not, just as one of the leaders of the team. Get it?

  • rkirby

    @AD Michael Jordan is the greatest perimeter defender of all time. Lebron is possibly not even the best one-on-one defender on his team.

  • JTaylor21

    Another lie fabricated by the MJ hype machine.
    Pippen not Mike was the best defender on those bulls squad and the best perimeter defender of all-time. Who was assigned to check Magic in the 91 finals after dude had MJ for lunch? Pip! Who was the one swatting CSmith time after time again in the ECF? Pip! Who was the one that was always there to erase every mistake the bulls made on the defensive end? Pip!!!!!!

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    Wilt Chamberlain was still better than both LeBron and Michael. Sorry guys.

  • horsey

    Pippen was the most versatile defender (1-4) Rodman was the best defender (2-5 and Magic Johnson). Both were absolute deadbolts one on one against anybody in the league while Jordan played passing lanes and got his steals in a sneakier way (picking pockets of someone else’s man, leaving his guy to follow his instincts). LeBron is crazy athletic but doesn’t have the same smarts/craftiness as the old Bulls team.

  • robb

    MJ is the man, but Pippen is the best perimeter defender of all time.

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    GP is the perimeter defender GOAT.

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/officerbarbrady what

    Barea should post him up.

  • OvaChicken

    what , He would be just as effective as your post. Coz the odds are none…

  • hagekg

    rkirby, so if you think that d wade hasnt been a defensive stopper so far in his career, you must have been sleeping……even lebron would have trouble if d wade is guarding him, check back on past seasons of heat vs cavs when the 2 are going against each other….also check on how many times wade has stripped kobe naked whenever both met….some ppl mentioned that wade has never been as good as payton is defensively in his prime, but i think wade also has INSIDE defense presence more than any PG or SG in the league…

  • OvaChicken

    ^^^^ hagekg hit it on the head on that one. ^^^^ So hatin hyenas after Game 1 – Barea 1-8 , 3 assists , 2 points. Job Done !! :-) Onto the next.