Thursday, June 16th, 2011 at 9:25 am  |  100 responses

Rick Barry: LeBron James’ Coaches Should Be ‘Ashamed’

The NBA great — who’s never been shy about expressing himself — is less than impressed with the coaching LeBron has received throughout his professional career, and Barry blames the coaches for James not playing up to his potential. USA Today has the quotes: “In a radio interview with The Rise Guys on KHTK in Sacramento, Barry said the Heat should have swept the Mavs in four straight, according to SportsRadioInterviews.com. Barry then weighed in on what he believes James needs to work on most in the off-season. ‘His shot, first and foremost, because I think that’s where it all comes down to. If you don’t have confidence in your shot, it destroys the rest of your game … Then, little nuances, facing up, learning how to be the guy learning to use your first dribble to go by instead of everything off the dribble … learning how to use screens probably, then of course the coach running more plays for him where he can run off double and triple staggered screens, learning to curl it properly, learning how to do the little things in the game which, unfortunately, have not been taught to him, which I don’t blame him for. I blame the people who have coached him over the years. To have a talent like this and to not maximize the full potential of this talent is inexcusable and reprehensible to me and the coaches who have had him should be ashamed of themselves.’”

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  • jay


  • http://twitter.com/hurstysyd Hursty

    Rick Barry is also unhappy with anyone who shoots FT’s overhead. “PROPER TECHNIQUE!”
    For real though, Barry is right. When your best coach is your High School coach (as a junior), and you’re now 26, then there’s something wrong. It’s not Spo’s job to teach LeBron that – it’s on the assistant coaches, video co-ordinators etc.

  • DFrance21

    Wow is right. I know sports is a passion for some people but sheesh, take a chill pill.

  • rkirby

    Rick Barry is absolutely right. Here’s where college ball probably would have helped or being traded to a veteran team early on(like Kobe) would have helped Lebron. He would have been forced to work on his post game and his jumper and would have learned how to better play off the ball. The system that was run in Cleveland mirrored his high school basketball team’s offense so much. It was absurd, and it certainly hampered Lebron’s growth as well as Boobie Gibson’s and J.J. Hickson’s development.

  • http://www.kb24.com The Seed

    Must be the AAU coaches, Steve Kerr spoke about. Imagine if Lebron worked out with Kobe in the off season, instead of taking trips around the world. If I was Lebron, I would change my inner circle, find some people who are willing to be honest with me, get rid of yes friends and work on my game. Lebron needs to hire Ron Artest therapist talk about his daddy issues, his prideful nature (ex. Chosen One tatoo, King name, wants to be Global Icon), commitment issues with Cleveland and his baby’s momma-marriage and why he has to have yes men around him and a Hebrew Guru as a business adviser. Lebron needs to man up. BOOK IT!!!

  • EtheKnickfan

    Finally. Lebron doesn’t seem to commit to the game because he has been told he is already the best. MJ was going through the same thing until Detroit “ruled” him. MJ went home a loser and after some hardcore soul searching over the summer, came back a stud. James doesnt seem to be the type that goes home and studies the nuances of the game. Thats what seperates him from the greats at this time. Not his fault though. I gotta admit it would have been kind of hard for me, at that age, to study tape of gameplay with ferraris at my expense in the driveway.

  • Ali

    Spot on Rick!

  • Jono

    Co-sign EtheKnickfan. That’s exactly what MJ and Barkley said on the Oprah show when they criticized kids (MJ was referring to LeBron & Melo) who’ve been so hyped up that their desire to work that extra 5%.

  • MikeC.

    Where are all the mindless Lebron supporters screaming on Rick Barry and calling him a ‘hater’? Is the bandwagon that empty now?

  • kh

    A case of too gifted, too young? RB is right on every level. Although we have no idea what Lebron works on during the off-season, it appears to me he should put down the weights and pick up a ball (and hire a coach). He is a naturally gifted athelete with millions and millions and millions and millions of dollars so what’s his motivation? I get the impression he isn’t overly concerned with working on being the “greatest” player on the planet considering it’s already been handed to him (by most). As an outsider it’s easy to pick nits about his shortcomings, but I think he clearly lacks a strong fundamental foundation and a desire to be the best. Get your mind right Bron Bron.


    It didn’t matter if Kobe was drafted by a veteran team…his pops taught him 2 play the right way and he had a drive 2 get better every year…Lebron on the other hand was told he was the best from day 1(thanks a lot SLAM)so he never tried 2 improve his game so i blame SLAM and ESPN!

  • ripslam

    Rick Barry is possibly the only player in NBA history who was/is a bigger douchebag than LeBron.

  • slamfan4life

    cant blame anyone but himself, the dude knows he needs a J; has known that for 8 years


  • http://slamonline.com Bryan Crawford

    I mentioned this to someone before, that had Keith Dambrot been his coach all through HS, he would be a much more fundamentally sound player right now.

  • drdunkenstein

    LeBron needs to work on his post game… all summer long. And see a psychologist to get his head right.

  • korda

    this is scary… i mean, lebron is the best player in the nba right now and he still has so much room to improve… next season will be like a horror movie, i expect much more cohesive heat, healthier haslem&miller, deeper and younger bench, heat running plays (spo will have the busiest summer lol) and playing even better team defense… offcoure, if no lockout

  • Josh

    I think it is on coaches, but lets be real, Lebron doesn’t have the work ethic of a guy like Kobe or the other greats before him (from what we have seen). If he had that work ethic then the coaches wouldn’t be an issue because he would get that stuff done in the off-season, get help on his post game from past guys who I’m sure would love to help (like with KB), etc. Blame has to go to coaches sure, but let us not forget who Lebron is.

  • Russ M

    Lebron can change absolutlely NOTHING and I gaurantee you he’ll still end up with a minimum of at least 2 or 3 rings. If you’ve been on another planet for the past 6 yrs & just read most of these comments, you would think he hasn’t even been able to get his teams out of the 1st round of the playoffs.

  • gubbins

    “The Heat should have swept the Mavs in four straight,” ????
    Why should they? To say that is to buy into the Heat as some ethereal basketball power.
    I’m sick of the notion that the championship was there’s to lose by default.
    What a clown.

  • T-Money

    ppl keep talking ish and they have no idea what really goes on. bron is a video nut and is constantly watching tapes of offense and defense. he knows all the plays from all 5 positions on both sides of the court. when he was with cleveland, chris jent would travel across the world with him every summer so that he could get a work out every day regardless of where he was. his midrange jumper this year from 10-15 ft and 16-23 ft was better than kobe, paul pierce, kd and derrick rose. out of all the superstars, only dirk had a better midrange shot. just because no one is filming him when he shoots after a game or during the summer, that doesn’t mean he’s not working. that’s just a blatant lie.

  • bike

    Yeah man, that LeBron has a ton of work to do. A former MVP, one of the league’s leaders in scoring every year, led two teams to the finals, a lock for the Hall of Fame, rookie of the year, best playmaker in NBA for a player of his size,etc., etc. LeBron really needs to get a good skill set and work on the basics.

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

    @ripslam aren’t you forgetting Bill Laimbeer? He was a complete douche. If you prompt another player to write a letter saying “f*ck you” and nothing else, I’m not sure it gets more douchebag than that……or maybe telling a guy he didn’t need to buy tickets for his family because they’re able to watch him sitting on the bench at home(Michael Jordan)

  • http://www.slamonline.com Nick Tha Quick

    T-Money says….”his midrange jumper this year from 10-15 ft and 16-23 ft was better than kobe, paul pierce, kd and derrick rose…only dirk had a better midrange shot…” Lebron is suddenly the second best mid-range shooter in the NBA, ladies and gentlemen. Believe that, homeboys!

  • Paul

    And this is why old bball is better than modern bball.

  • http://Philosophervision@blogspot.com The Philosopher

    Yesterday I said nearly the EXACT same thing Rick Barry said.

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

    Kobe’s mid-range game is much better than Lebron’s. The hell?

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    basically had a long winded conversation about how I think LeBron’s number 1 priority should be his jumpshot yesterday on Twitter. Thank you mr barry, i agree lol

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    I think he should focus on manufacturing buckets close to the basket. His jumper is lightyears better than it used to be, a clear sign of hard work, but he still loses confidence in it, and then his scoring impact is greatly reduced. It’s telling that he wasn’t able to manufacture trips to the free throw line against Dallas.
    Basically, figure out how to attack quickly from closer in, whether that’s backing down in the post, or turn and face.
    Just like when Jordan’s jumpers wasn’t falling in the 98 Finals, he went to the block and got to the line to get the points he needed. LeBron needs to have that in his arsenal. But anybody who thinks dude doesn’t work on his game hasn’t been paying attention.
    And most of y’all never said that his first three rounds in the playoffs.

  • Hurricane

    His best coach was his 1st NBA coach, Paul Silas.

  • toinefan88

    American basketball for you. It’s our And 1 culture. No fundamentals. Lebron paid for it this year.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    I admittingly didn’t think that his jumper was the weakest point in his game. i was in the he should learn to post-up movement for a minute. But after watching the finals, and how Dallas guarded LeBron I have changed my opinion. Infact you, Allen, were who brought this to my attention in the first place, when he’s making his jumper and what it does for his game when it’s falling. Dallas sagged off LeBron and turned him into an audience member. Then when the Heat countered they immediately put LeBron on the block, this was game 3 I believe, LeBron had Jason Kidd guarding him in the post, he would get the ball, Dallas would either double or bluff a double team and LeBron would look to pass….everytime. If LeBron could shoot, even when he’s not uber confident (currently the only time he can shoot) then it would force teams to guard him everywhere on the court. It would also lead to a more successful career in the post if he ever uses that as a weapon, because he will be able to square up and hit that mid-range jumper…consistently, preventing the likes of Jason Kidd from checking him. Jordan and Kobe both developed their mid-range game before their post game, and they aren’t/weren’t nearly the playmaker LeBron is for his teammates. Basically LeBron’s jumper does/will open up the rest of his game, it will lead to more assists (from defense actually concerting attention to him on more then just drives to the hoop), more easy buckets (shots in the paint), and (maybe most importantly) more free throws. This is due to the defense playing LeBron honest and opening him up to use his drive which is and will always be his most dangerous weapon.

  • http://slamonline.com Spaceship Jay

    Co-sign Allenp; as a one of the guys that was glad that Lebron lost and now must return back to my crummy personal life (!), I’ve been harping for years that his actual basketball skills more than paled in comparison to his athletic ability… (God forbid) he’d have one of those career-threatning injuries, he’d be completley useless. But I digress; no one was saying this in the midst of the Heat’s campaign against the Old C’s and their idiotic management, or against the Bulls, the most light-skinned basketball team ever assembled.

  • Riggs

    he should hound kobe to train him in the offseason.

  • http://slamonline.com Bryan Crawford

    I’m really tired of hearing about how LeBron lost confidence in his jumper and that’s what made him virtually invisible in the Finals. Even if it is true. For some reason that just angers me because it’s just such a pathetic reason.
    His jumper is fine. He’s improved it a ton in 8 years and from a mechanical standpoint, it’s gotten about as good as it’s going to get. That’s not the problem, IMO.
    The problem is his sole reliance on it to get himself going and if it’s not, then he loses all aggression and he’s nowhere to be found despite the fact that he can CLEARLY do so many other things to score points.
    So no, I don’t think he’s working on his “game” either. Not as hard as he could, anyway. I just think he’s working on facets of it, like his jumpshot. It’s not an all-encompassing kind of “work” he’s putting in because if it were, this lame, almost forgiving narrative of him losing faith in his jumper as the reason he was a no-show in the Finals, wouldn’t be said. Why? Because he would have found other ways to get it done. That’s what great players do.
    His jumper not falling as a reason he faltered in the Finals is just not an acceptable reason or excuse to me. Especially not for the best player in basketball.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    whoa, I am not saying his lack of confidence is why he disappeared in the finals. I don’t think anyone knows what really caused him to be so invisible. I was just referring to how Dallas was guarding him, and how his lack of a respectable jumper (despite its improvements) caused him to be guarded in that way. — his finals performance was befuddling to me, he looked terrified. I would like to know of what? failure?

  • http://www.newyorkshockexchange.com Shock Exchange

    Rick Barry points out exactly what’s wrong with Lebron’s game. A good college coach like Dean Smith or Bobby Knight would have forced Lebron to get better at “catch and shoot” and coming off screens. It’s the proverbial “Catch 22″ – Lebron skipped college for the NBA. He’s can take care of his family but he is lacking certain skills. Dallas exposed Lebron’s weaknesses with its “Lebron Rules” >> http://clicky.me/TheLebronRules

  • T-Money

    nick tha quick: 45% from midrange, name me the other superstars besides dirk that were above that this year. i’ll wait. / the losing confidence in his jumper is bs. he shot poorly, that’s it. his finals were no worse than d-wade’s eastern conference finals. but when it’s bron there HAS to be a greater explanation. marion played him tough, the zone bother miami’s ‘offense’, they took out his sweet spots and he sucked. / people talked about lebron’s lack of fundamentals without mentioning that he can deliver any kind of pass with both hands on the move, can go left better than some righties can go right, has put in tons of works on his shooting mechanics, is always in the right spots with good technique on defense and has INSANE ball handling for a 6’8-250 dude (no forward spends more time with the ball in his hands and he rarely gets his pocket picked and never has to eat his dribble). That’s not fundamentals? Ok then.

  • http://facebook.com/tronjohnson Chief

    There is just no more fuel for the Lebron lovers anymore hey?
    His one chance to keep you all around and he failed you too. HAHA

  • http://slamonline.com AllBall

    T-Money, what did Chris Paul shoot? I legitimately dont know, thats why I’m asking.

  • http://slamonline.com Bryan Crawford

    T-Money, in your last point, what does any of that mean if you don’t use it to impact the game? Nothing.
    I also don’t want to hear about Marion’s defense on him (which was good) or Dallas’s zone (which was awesome) or him being taken out of his sweet spots either. If you’re the best player in basketball, then you are EXPECTED to overcome all of that, or at least make an effort to.
    So the bottom line is this: LeBron James or his many apologists can’t look themselves in the mirror and HONESTLY say that he left it all on the floor in the Finals.
    That, more than anything else, is what makes this whole thing truly sad because if he did and if his effort were apparent, then people could respect that and we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

  • http://espn.com ubestNOTmiss

    Lebron tanked in the finals because the mafia/ gambling syndicate threatened to kill his loved one/s if the heat won over the mavs

  • http://www.slamonline.com Nick Tha Quick

    T-Money…Ray Allen shot a better mid-range % than Lebron. Like Staples, that was easy!

  • bull22


  • flipnoyce

    Marinate this for a second. LeBron has been in the public eye since his high school days. He’s probably ONE of the most gifted player to ever set foot on the hardwood. Sure, it’s much easier to blame his current and former coach for not truly optimizing his game but what part of that is true? LeBron has always been the type to You Do You, I’ll Do Me. He has had problems with former and current coaches. Does it ever occur to some of you that LeBron fail to LISTEN or don’t want to at times?

    His game is still improving and I’m sure HE Will BE better when the time comes and ready to accept his crown. But for now he’s still a prophecy!

  • T-Money

    nick tha quick: ray allen is a superstar? i specifically mentioned superstars as in high volume scorers. guys like melo, kd, wade, rose, kobe, etc. of course, ray allen and steve nash are better from mid range but that’s who we’re comparing lebron to. / bryan crawford: i don’t understand your comment, lebron DOESN’T use his passing, slashing, defense and handles to impact the game? wtf? and i’m not excusing him of anything, i readily admitted that he sucked in the finals. what i pointed out was that wade sucked just as bad in the ECF and looked very tired and passive and we were not questioning his overall game. 2 weeks ago, he was an unstoppable force and now the skip baylesses are saying that he’s not top 5? stop it.

  • Handles

    I remember MJ saying that he would feel his shot out. If his jumper was not falling, he would revert to his post game, back down his opponent for a closer look at the basket. Shoulder fake 1 way turn around the other. Before Dirk, MJ had the most unstoppable offensive move in the game with that fadeaway from the block or free throw line extended, just like Kareem’s sky hook was unstoppable during his time. Bron, work on those post moves. 1 or 2 dribbles then make a move. You wouldn’t have to rely too much on the jumper or dribble drive penetration so much. And for the love of the game Spo gotta design more plays for Bron to receive the ball closer to the basket. They did this a number of times during the series, eddie house, chris bosh, or whoever sets a cross screen by the baseline, Lebron cuts from the weakside to post up. He burned Marion and Stevenson that close to the basket a number of times…in the first half. Really strange why they didn’t run that more, especially when Mavs would revert back to man D from zone.

  • http://slamonline.com truballer

    well said..! by the great rick barry, he needs a post game to be his bread and butter.. jordan’s post up fade away jumper was unstoppable! thats what added to his game.., lebron needs to extend AND advance his game, he has to master that shot cause its not that great.. good luck next year lbj u need work, im still a fan of u.. just put in the effort to be the best player..!
    wares the lebron that came from clevland? we need him bk..

  • http://slamonline.com Bryan Crawford

    T-Money, obviously I’m not Skip Bayless, and that’s a pretty dumb thing to say. Also, of course LBJ does all of those things that you mentioned but my point to you was that if he’s NOT doing it then it doesn’t matter if he CAN do it, if that makes sense.
    And I’m not taking shots at you personally, in all honesty, I think these discussions about the guy are so tired because when you really think about it, we shouldn’t even be asking “What’s wrong with LeBron?” or offering up armchair analysis about why he didn’t live up to, use and exploit his potential against the opposition in the NBA Finals.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    I agree with that last part of BC’s comment 100%. Time to move on to the draft and what teams should/will be doing to improve.

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    Bron’a jumpshot is not the problem, it’s the lack of movement without the ball. Too many times dude is standing in the corner watching while DWade has the rock, hell the freaking refs move more than him. Dude needs to just working on his off the ball game in the off-season and watch some old MJ games because MJ was probably the best at moving without the ball.

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    Bron’a jumpshot is not the problem, it’s the lack of movement without the ball. Too many times dude is standing in the corner watching while DWade has the rock, hell the freaking refs move more than him. Dude needs to just working on his off the ball game in the off-season and watch some old MJ games because MJ was probably one of the best at moving without the ball. That’s is what enabled him and Pip to coexist so beautifully, Pip was the better passer which meant that he needed the ball more, that forced MJ to improve his off the ball game. The same scenario must occur in MIA if those guys want rings together.

  • DFrance21

    I think JTaylor is right. People are totally over thinking things. Look at his series against Chi and Bos. His game was clicking on all cylinders, mid range, off the dribble, threes. It was all there. He played poorly in the finals, not because lack of skill, it was lack of aggression and activity. IMO. He needs to move without the ball and cut off of DWade and other players drives. Look at a lot of Wades points, they come of hi sneaking backdoor and dunking on people. He gets those baskets by diving to the run when people drive. Lebron passes and just stands around until its passed back. He rarely attacks the offensive glass. I think more activity would work wonders for him.

  • http://slamonline.com Bryan Crawford

    Although he could stand to improve in that area, LeBron isn’t really an off-ball player like that. JTaylor mentioned MJ and DWade, but those guys are and were natural off-ball scorers. LeBron is different because he’s a natural distributor so he has the ball in his hands a lot more.
    He should never be of those guys who runs off multiple screens for the bulk of his points because he’s so much more effective when he has the ball and is in a position to make decisions for himself and others.
    His problem is being able to find that balance between when to, not just shoot, but attack and get his own offense, and when to set up others. In the Finals he did the latter far too much.
    And being more active in terms of rebounding on the offensive glass would definitely help because those are easy baskets.

  • http://Slamonline.com Caboose

    Amen JTaylor, though how much of that is on LeBron and how much of that is on Spo?

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    That is all on Bron, all on him. He’s been this way his entire career, choosing to stand around, star gazing instead of moving off the ball and getting easy baskets. Just imagine how much better the guy can become if he develops a great off the ball game? It would make it easier for him and reduce the wear and tear of having to consistently go one on five all game long. That is one of the most underrated aspects of Bird and MJ’s game that no one talks about, those guys were phenomenal off the ball players, always constantly moving and looking for easy baskets. Basketball is all about scoring in the most efficent way possible and improving his off the ball game will do wonders for Bron’s game.
    Co-sing BC on the offensive glass point. Dude needs to be hitting the O board with a vengence when the shots aren’t falling. For somone who claims to be an historian of the game, he seems to have forgotten how past greats dominanted the game without scoring.

  • T-Money

    you’re 100% right on off the ball movement stuff. bron doesn’t cut unless he is specifically told to and he rarely crashes the offensive board (which is maddening). part of it is miami’s offense too since the offense treats wade and james the same way it treats mike miller and eddie house: stand in the corner. although that’s a cop out because bron feels no way about breaking up the offense when he sees an opening with the ball in his hands. yeah, dude has to move around the court more.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    i must say, I enjoy this version of JTaylor.

  • jack

    Barry said in the same interview that the Heat should have swept the Mavs and gave the series to the Mavs. He sounds like espn’s Skip Gayless. I bet Barry bet a ton of money on the Heat and lost. He sounds bitter.
    I guess the Bullets “gave” Barry’s Warriors the nba title back in 1975…he is a douchebag.

  • http://Slamonline.com Caboose

    Everything JT just said was brilliant. And cosign nbk, though are we sure this is the same guy? The other JT didn’t have a site link in his name…

  • Jay Sutt

    I was saying the same thing, everyone is saying how LeBron didnt come through.. true and false. Even though the players have to play the game the coaches didn’t do their part with disecting the Mavs zone and drawing up plays for hat such as having Bron move with out the ball and set his self up in the Zones soft spots which allows him to see the loor from a different perspective and use his passing ability and for closer shots. The Heat was out coached

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    yeah and his link is CNBC. Jtaylor is also in LeBron’s corner 100% of the time. But maybe that was just an act to get BC and others to flame out, he did try and argue with everyone for a few months..day after day, week after week. Maybe he just got over that and is actually here to discuss rather than fight

  • http://Slamonline.com Caboose

    I hope so, dude seems to have the right stuff to say.

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    It’s the one and only JT21, the proof’s in the pudding (cosby style).

  • http://slamonline.com The Fresh Prince of Nsam

    Hey T-Money, ESPN here in the U.K is showing back the 90s Finals and I’ve been practising that thing you said about washing games with the TV sound turned off while listening to my old CDs and sipping some shiraz, cider or lager. It’s great man, thanx 4 the tip.
    And 4 the rest of u Slamfam, c u when the next NBA season resumes (and when I finally find my £50k+ job)
    Thanx from the bottom of my heart to all of you guys 4 entertaining a jobless bro for 594 days now (and counting).
    C u again when I finally start getting paid.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Good luck man hope you get what your lookin for

  • mexa

    Its the NBA fault, keep gettin those players without college experience and the result is the dumb as* lebrons!!!!!

  • http://www.slamonline.com/ 1982

    It really did look like no one bothered to pull him aside in practice and try to figure things out after game 2. They didn’t have to, he’s been a starter for 8 years…but at the same time, this is the Finals. Spo spent extra time building up Chalmers but left Lebron? Who knows, I wasn’t there, and neither was Barry.

  • Dagger

    How do people not know Lebron was lights-out from midrange this year? Do you guys not follow the games? Or do you just not follow the stats? Not hating, just really confused. And does anyone else find it weird that a guy who was maybe a tenth of the player Lebron is today has the audacity to say Lebron’s coaches should be “ashamed?” I’m not saying I necessarily disagree with his criticisms, but they do sound a little ridiculous coming from him. Either way, I think Lebron’s inability to win a championship this year had a lot more to do with the Mavs and his own lack of heart than any lack of talent on his part.

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    Slow your roll there, Dagger. RBarry was a beast in every sense of the word. Dude was one of the greatest scoring and passing forwards in league history and led an undermanned Warriors squad to a final sweep of a very talented Bullet squad led by EHayes and WUnsled. Most people forget that the guy spent the majority of his prime in the NBA, so just imagine how good his NBA numbers would have looked like if the guy’s prime was spent dominating NBA forwards.
    Don’t sleep on Barry, dude’s one of the 20 Greatest players of all-time.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    I stand by he lost confidence idea. I’ve watched enough of dude’s games to know when he raises up whether he truly believes the shot is going in, or if he thinks this is the shot he should be taking.
    And I’ve seen enough of his games to know that his jumper reduces the space his defender can give him, thereby making it much easier for him to get to the rack and put the entire team in trouble. More importantly, most of you regulars have basketball playing experience, and should know that any time a player loses confidence in any aspect of his game, it’s almost impossible for him to do that thing well unless something happens to help him regain confidence.
    LeBron is a great dribbler for a small forward, but he’s not a great dribbler. LeBron is not as creative as Wade on the pick and roll. He’s not as creative or decisive in isolations. If his jumper is not falling, it takes away a key aspect of his arsenal at this point, and he does not have a counter.
    I remember Hubie Brown talking about how all big mean should have counters for every move. It’s great to be able to hit a jump hook or turnaround, but what do you do when the defender concentrates on limiting that move?
    I chalk up his failure to a lack of confidence in his jumper which turned into a lack of aggression and overall confidence. I’ve seen it happen before to a lot of players, hell, even Dirk. True, I never saw it happen to players like Kobe, or Iverson or Shaq, but they were stone cold scorers in their hearts who had to dial back those impulses to incorporate other people. LeBron has never been that guy, and I’ve said that for a long time despite his gaudy numbers.

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

    Rick Barry is right… LeBron James, unlike past greats, has never had a future HOF’er coaching him. Kobe has had it, Mike has had it (the same one), Tim Duncan has had it, Shaq has had two… Even Dirk Nowitzki has at least been coached by guys with some EXPERIENCE. Bron has been coached by two of they youngest coaches in the league–not to mention he came straight out of high school, so no college coaching to help him–and STILL managed to make the finals under both of them. That’s just incredible.
    There is A LOT of stuff he should have been taught and he should be practicing in the off-season. I just Pat Riley gets the memo.
    Not that I’m saying Eric Spoelstra shouldn’t keep his job. That’s not my style.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Asking LeBron to play off the ball is like asking Magic to play off the ball. Ain’t gonna happen.
    Instead, he needs to figure out the best way to use his skills on the ball. He can totally do it if he wants to, I think.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Not Shaq, Jordan, in my comment.

  • kunal

    Pearls of wisdom

  • http://sdfklf.com Jukai

    This sort of seems apologetic too Lebron.
    Is it wrong of me to still think Lebron’s game is fine, he’s still the best in the game, and he just went cold and made bad decisions to play second to Wade in the finals? Is that a bad opinion to have now?

  • LeBron de Con

    Whoo da hell is chuck beery

  • spursnation

    We’re only proving LeBron right by parking our overweight American asses in front of tablets, laptops and PCs and discussing the merits of LeBron’s career and playing style while he makes $28 PER MINUTE. Do the math: (14.5*10^6)/(365*24*60). Oh wait, education in this country is so lacking that we can’t carry out simple arithmetic. Talk about returning to our crummy lives.

  • hirardu

    Great players knows resiliency. The higher they fall, the higher they bounce back. So bounce back higher lebron and don’t be such an @-hole..

  • http://Slamonline.com nbk

    The question is why didn’t LeBron have confidence during the finals? It’s obvious he lost his confidence and it was a detriment. But why? There has to have been something else that triggered him acting like the shy kid who eats lunch under the bleachers.

  • http://www.yahoo.com berkamore

    Finally someone says what I have been screaming all along.

    LeBron has two problems: he didn’t go to college and never had a decent coach in the pros. In other words, he never really learned the nuances of the game.

    Take all the greats: Kareem (Wooden and Riley), Magic (Riley and college championship), Isiah (Bobby Knight and Chuck Daly), Jordan (Dean Smith and Phil Jackson), Duncan (college experience and Popovich), Kobe (no college but a decade of Jackson).

    Le Bron NEVER had proper coaching. Mike Brown and Spo are adequate but for a player of that caliber, they are just not the right fit.

    So I am with Barry on that one. LeBron needs a coach with some stature, not a young guy learning his trade.

  • T-Money

    allen: i beg to differ on the ball handling. bron’s a great dribbler, period. not a flashy one but the ball is always secure in his hands, he goes wherever he needs to go with the ball. and maybe you’re right, maybe it should be d-wade playing off the ball more and cutting and all that. wade is good at going one vs one but bron is better at finding guys on the move.

  • MikeC.

    @JTaylor – I disagree about MJ being the best off the ball player (or moving without the ball, I forget how you worded it and scrolling up is just too much right now). I’d put Reggie Miller, Ray Allen and Rip Hamilton all ahead of MJ at moving without the ball. Mostly because they were much more slender than MJ and had to get theirs off screens and curls while MJ could physically abuse most 2s. I had a larger point to make, but I forgot to eat dinner and then went out for pints after work, so my brain just ain’t right.

  • MikeC.

    I disagree with Barry on this one. Lebron James’ coaches should not be ashamed at all. This is professional basketball. It is a profession. Strip it down to its very core, take away the media, the huge money, the adulation/fame, and all the extra crapola and NBA basketball is a J-O-B. Lebron performed poorly at his job. Like anyone else in the world that has a job and fails to improve in their chosen profession (be it clearing tables in a diner or playing NBA basketball), it is the fault of the employee just as much as the coach/manager/supervisor/whatever. It is quite possible and probable that past coaches have said something along the lines of “Hey Lebron, you realize you’re the same size as Karl Malone right? With your handles, speed, improving shooting range and finishing power, you will be an absolute nightmare if you have just a couple post moves. Wanna go learn a drop step? I’m Paul Silas, I played with Kevin McHale. Or I’m Mike Brown, I worked with Coach Pop and maybe he’ll hook us up with The Admiral for a week or two. Or I’m Pat Riley, I know that Kareem guy, he was pretty good in the post.” After 8 years in the league, I find it impossible to believe that nobody has suggested or even temporarily insisted that he work on a post move or two. I just don’t believe it. Lebron has repeatedly stated that his game is fine and he tends to get very defensive when people ask about what he does to work on his game. I’m not saying he doesn’t work. It’s obvious that he’s spent many many hours in the gym pumping iron, and many more hours working on his jumpshot and FT shooting(just not with the pressure of the Finals in mind). For someone to suggest he doesn’t work on his game at all is nuts. The problem is that he has never taken his talents to the post.

  • MikeC.

    And for all of those who keep saying stuff along the lines of “Lebron and the Heat will be fine, they’re guaranteed to win 2 or 3 championships”. What’s the guarantee? That Wade isn’t going to keep getting older and more likely to get hurt? He’s not a great outside shooter, so it’s not like he’s going to age like Shuttlesworth. Wade has a couple more seasons of playing at his current level, then he’s going to find out what many have found out before him. Basketball is kinda hard when you’re in your 30′s and you’re not a lights-out shooter. At that point, it has to be Lebron’s team to carry and it will be all about his will and what he can force the game to do. From what we’ve seen, he’s not capable. People keep talking about Lebron’s potential and what’s to come. The guy has been in the league for 8 years. It’s not like this is his 2nd season and the entire world is unfolding in front of him. Maybe we all need to check ourselves and realize that at this point, he is what he is and that’s all he’s going to be.

  • Charles Breen

    i dont like lebron, but all the people saying he doesn’t practice or try to improve his game…cmon man he’s in the NBA and he’s one of the elite players..ofcourse he does all that stuff

  • G

    SLAM’s proofreader should be ashamed for letting this headline go unchecked.

  • Will

    I have been claiming this for years as he hasn’t played for a real coach since High School. i really hope that Pat Riley will go and throw whatever money Phil Jackson needs to come out from under Montana and coach the triangle to this version of the big three. it will honestly be better than anything the bulls or lakers could have ever done. and i, for the record am a die had tar heel and a laker fan. with the right coaching in miami, they will be unstoppable…

  • john rambo

    it’s not the coaches Barry… it’s the players!!! coaches always wanted their top players to play their very best during the finals… but it’s different when a player like Le Bron REFUSE to play his usual game when it matters most!!! Le Bron SHOULD RETIRE NOW!!! he LOST HIS CREDIBILITY as a professional basketball player and as a person!!!

  • alexander james

    Wow tell u the truth barry just said it all. . . .yes mia could’ve sweeped the mavs in 4 when the game came down to it lebron never really took a shot he forced it that’s why he wasn’t succesful in most or shld say all of the 4 quarters in the finals. . .but lebron needs to take control tho . . .I have no hate on lebron I like the big three in mia =) gt me excited to watch tv just to see them play I wasn’t disappointed hahaha. . . But keep ur head up big three ur my fav

  • john

    Anything Rick Barry says regarding the Mavericks directly or indirectly should be ignored. Rick had a radio show in the SF Bay Area back 5 years ago when Dallas beat San Antonio (with one of Rick’s sons) and he was blinded by personal feelings to the point of ignorance about Dallas and Mark Cuban. Rick Barry is a bitter man and I’m glad I wasn’t around when Dallas finished off Miami because he was probably throwing things at the TV in anger. By the way, when it didn’t have to do with the Mavs his radio show was still really awful, and he was fired.

  • BostonBaller

    Again with the semi MJ comparisons..just stop it. One minor correction, it didn’t take the Pistons to make MJ work harder at his game, they made him workout harder (w/ weights). His work ethic was already there..1986.. injury… told not to play… worked out anyway-pool… then came back and kllled my C’s in the playoffs.

  • BostonBaller

    No one said the Mavs weren’t worthy or LBJ had a lack of talent and I agree with RB to a certain point about his coaching but LBJ is grown and as JTatylor said, LBJ says he is a historian which means he should know the little things to make himself better/unstoppable. Good coaching is key but listening to/learning from coaching is critical. RCrawford is also right about LBJ not being an off the ball player but he could move around more when the ball is not in his hands, Wade would find him and not just for alley oops. Magic was very effective w/out the ball while slashing enough in games to keep teams off balanced.

  • BostonBaller

    Rick Barry was a GREAT player and IS a HOFer w/out doubt and it only shows ignorance when “fans” of only the recent game try to call out former players for answering questions or giving an opinion when most times if their favorite player were to do or say something dumb they would try to justify it w/ more stupidity. Let’s get real fam, LBJ is a beast but he could be even better and he really does need a good PR person for his interviews. He seems to have the business part down and his “friends” seem to know the business as well so I don’t think it’s them.

  • BostonBaller

    I have to comment AGAIN b/c of spursnation’s post at 10:46 pm about us
    “proving LeBron right by parking our overweight American asses in front of tablets, laptops and PCs and discussing the merits of LeBron’s career and playing style while he makes $28 PER MINUTE. Do the math” ROTFLOL: (14.5*10^6)/(365*24*60)= 27.587519 (I think) w/out a calculator my friend. MY crummy life is as an Educator/Coach and I’ve earned my Summer off (although I will teach some this summer) I teach STEM = Science, Technology, Engineering & Math.

  • http://www.har.com/andrewcodia Andy

    I think the main thing that made Miami Loss in the playoff is their pride. Lebron already predicted that they will win not only one,two but even seven. He already count the egg that are not hatch yet. May be Miami will win eventually but I have a feeling that Cleveland will get the championship first before Lebron get his.

  • JL

    I think Lebron will take the loss this summer hard and realize he has to get better. And he will. If he comes out with a post game then it’s all over. Plus work on his jump shot. Perfecting those two things are only possible with hard work, not athletic talent.

  • Logic in the chi

    Spaceship Jay Posted: Jun.16 at 1:05 pm
    that lightskinned bulls joke was classic i needed that laugh

  • http://slamonline.com Mars

    The truth is, when a player exceeds a coach’ capacity, then he no longer gets coached, he becomes the coach on the court, and that has hurt LeBron. He always going to be the best on the court no matter what team he is on or playing against. Sure it’s easier said than done, but coaches coach talent, they don’t create it. I think his teammates will stand up to the challenge of getting better. LeBron can take over games, we may never know why he doesn’t all the time….Let’s just hope we at least get a glimpse of the great performances he can provide, like we “WITNESSed” during the Cleveland Vs. Detroit, Game 5, NBA Eastern Conference Finals in 07. I know that was a while ago but still, I’m sure most basketball fans still have the memories fresh in their minds. That is the player we all envisioned him being. @ANDY, Stop it 5.

  • http://google marquise griffin


  • http://excite gdog

    I don’t think any of you comprehend what RB just said,all of you MIA and LJ haters have used this article to allow your suppressed hatred to emerge,RB clearly said that it is the coaches fault for not teaching these fundamentals to LJ,learn how to read and comprehend you HATERS!!!!