Tuesday, June 14th, 2011 at 9:15 am  |  56 responses

Steve Kerr: LeBron More Scottie Pippen Than Michael Jordan

Kerr, who played with both MJ and Scottie, thinks LeBron James’ game is more suited to be Pippen-esque despite what Scottie may think. From ESPN: “The irony to me is that LeBron is not Michael. LeBron is actually Scottie,’ Steve Kerr said. ‘He’s so similar to Scottie in that defensively he was just a monster, could guard anybody, really more of a point forward than scoring guard. Scottie always loved to distribute the ball. That’s really where LeBron’s preference is … Phil Jackson used to call Scottie a ‘sometimes shooter.’ Sometimes they would go in, sometimes they wouldn’t. That’s how it is with LeBron. He’s a great talent and a great player but you can see his flaws as a basketball player. He doesn’t have an offensive game that he can rely on: no low-post game, no mid-range jump shot so when the game really gets tough he has a hard time finding easy baskets and getting himself going. That’s what Michael did in his sleep so that’s why the comparison is wrong … Michael had three years at North Carolina with Dean Smith. That makes a big difference,’ Kerr said. ‘I think he was brought up at a time when there was probably better development at a young age in terms of coaching. I think LeBron is a product of the AAU system where you rely on your athleticism, you go and play 100 games a year but maybe you don’t focus on your weaknesses and what you need to lock in on. As a result, fundamentally and technically LeBron has some flaws. He has to address those. If I were him I would spend all summer down on the low block shooting jump hooks and turnaround jump shots — the entire summer.’”

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  • Tupack Shackur

    Maybe this is why Scottie was trying to draw a distinction between best scorer and best-all around. If he could get us to value all-aroundness more than scoring, his star rises closer to MJ’s…

  • Luis

    You nailed it..

  • http://slamonline.com Spaceship Jay

    GOTDAMN Kerr! He just went in on Lebron…. AAU ball; Yikes. My only dissapointment is that I could swear that I overheard Kerr proclaiming LeBron to be almighty during the whole Celtics/Bulls elimination campaign.. Don’t be switching up son.

  • http://www.twitter.com/jdotd @JdotD

    Very true. And if LeBron saw this he would say “hater” or something, which perfectly shows further what his problems are. He’s got into such a self protective circle that any criticism, even constructive, just bounces off him and he’ll only ever go his way. Once he opens up and actually accepts the flaws in his game he’ll finally take that next step in his game and get a ring.

  • yeah yeah yeah


  • http://www.slamonline.com Wayno

    Cosign Steve Kerr…

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

    Steve Kerr is right.

  • http://www.nba.com Gman

    On the Money

  • Trout

    To be honest this is no real revelation as the fact he signed to be part of another guys team would indicate some sidekick tendencies. AAU reference is a bit harsh but fair in that I think a year or two of college may have made some difference to his on the court and off the court thinking. Coming in from high school despite your talent isn’t for everybody it takes real tenacity and self belief at all times and I’m not sure if his focus can match his talents. Next year will be better for the Heat all over as all the hype should calm down so he might get better who knows.

  • Zabba

    On the money, like his trey.

  • shuref00t

    Real talk.

  • Zabba

    “Lebron James more Steve Kerr than Michael Jordan.”

  • Red Star

    I could not have said it better!!

  • http://Www.slamonline.com TheBigL

    Considering this i sightful and, to me, eye-opening analysis: Who is more Michael Jordan? Pip or Bron?

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

    Uhhh….probably Lebron. He’s a better scorer than Pip. I don’t really know.

  • http://www.selfdefensecloud.com Bigv

    I think Lebron is a north south guy. No real lateral quickness. He should focus on playing down low. He is too big and heavy to play 40 guard minutes per game. He would absolutely dominate in the low post. But he has been told he is King so is he open to advise and is he coachable?

  • RobbieJay

    the AAU stab was kinda low lmao

  • http://slamonline.com Tracy

    Well sh!t, it’s a complement either way when people still compare you to Pip, a great player in his own right..but, it’s kinda upsetting when someone with the genes of a God doesn’t seem to wanna put in the work to be better then MJ.

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

    You know what I take that back. Prime Scottie Pippen is probably better than the Lebron of now.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Cheryl

    Thank you. Finally a well thought out analysis. Absolutely right.

  • Phillip

    Great suggestion. Hope it fumes him well.
    Know your role and maximize your own impact. I guess that’s how things work.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Jahmai

    I love how everybody overreacts to everything that happens in the playoffs. Yes, LeBron played like sh*t by his own standards, but everybody knows he’s 26, it’s been said a thousand times, Jordan won his first at 28, Kobe won his ‘solo’ championship at 29. Yeah, he already had 3 but everybody was wondering if he could win one as ‘alpha male.’ Let the LeBron story unfold, and let us pray to god LeBron works his ass of this summer and remind us why he’s been dubbed ‘the chosen one’ and ‘King James’.

  • http://www.twitter.com/nflem41 Nicolas Fleming

    Jahmai. Because it was marketing genius. And really would have been amazing had he won. He doesn’t have any semblance of a post game and he’s 6’8″ 260. And he’s not even close to a rookie…


    Well said Steve. Completely agree

  • http://slamonline.com AllBall

    So if LeBron wins with the Heat that will be a ‘solo’ championship?

  • http://www.slamonline.com Jahmai

    Nope, he’s not 18 anymore either, I know, but he’s got 3 solid years of ‘prime-time’ coming and I know he lacks a postgame, but if he works on it like you said, he could be very effective in his early 30′s, especially in these days where athletes are extremely well conditioned and trained.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Jahmai

    @AllBall, not this year (I know in reality it never is, but it can be viewed that way, a la Kobe 2009,’10, Dirk ’11), but Wade is going to be 30 next year and relies heavily on speed and athleticism, if people thought Kobe is losing it at ’32′ with a skillset that’s so phenomal it should keep him elite, than Wade will be not as effective to lead the team to a championship in the coming years of their 5 year contract (he’ll be 34 when it ends). I already think LeBron is a better player, older Wade does not stand a chance, and keep in mind he’s already undersized at his position. So IF Miami is going to win a championship in the future it will have to be LeBron leading them.

  • Dubson

    Just shut it. LeBron will win no championships by himself ever. He has no excuse now. He is just flat out a LOSER. King of what? Losing.

  • http://slamonline.com AllBall

    I think that people who are neutral on Kobe (not fans, not haters) see that he led them to the last two chips, but he had a lot of help. Personally, I view Dirks title more ‘solo’ than Kobes, and would view Dirk and Kobe’s titles both more ‘solo’ than Brons if he wins with Miami. Wade is a top 5 player right now, should be next year if nothing dramatic happens. Pau is what, top 15? Gotta have Dirk, Paul, Wade, LeBron, Kobe, Rose, Durant, Howard ahead of him. There are others I know I have missed that I can’t think of right now.

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

    Hell, if Miami didn’t have Wade they would’ve been swept. Chris Bosh was scoring more than Lebron.

  • http://slamonline.com Spaceship Jay

    King of What? Losing… I fell out of my chair laughing just now becasue he typed the question; and then typed the answer directly afterwards.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    I think everybody agrees on Kerr’s assessment of LeBron’s game. It ain’t like he’s breaking new ground there.

  • http://idunkonthem.blogspot.com/ albie1kenobi

    i’ve always enjoyed Kerr’s analysis and i think he’s one of the best TV analysts in the business. this one is so on point that the only rebuttal is just plain denial.
    as a basketball fan with no allegiance, i find it fascinating that (one of) the best player in basketball still have THAT MUCH improvement he can make. granted he may never put everything together (and there’s plenty of evidences he probably will not), but the possiblity is still mind-boggling.

  • Washtub

    i blame ryan.
    seriously. without the hs hype, lebron is carmelo with a defensive game.
    feel sorry for the guy

  • unrel

    this is not to stir up debate.. or talk about who’s better.. but if bron wants to get better.. he should work out with kobe over the summer..

  • http://slamonline.com datkid

    lebron is carmelo w/ a defensive game? log off. I gotta go but i’ll be back.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Haven’t most of us been saying this for years? I know BC, Allen, Matic, Black, Jukai, even JTaylor might have said that at one point or another. And he’s more pro-LeBron then anyone.

  • rand33p

    Bron needs to hit up Tim Grover

  • bike

    Considering LeBron’s size and athletic ability, it does seem that if he could develop a low post turnaround jumper his game set would expand considerably. I don’t see how anyone could stop him. Playing him exclusivley at point guard seems like a waste of his ability.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    He did not play PG for even 1 minute in the playoffs. LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Mike Miller/James Jones, Chris Bosh, Udonis Haslem was not used a single time. Inexplicably

  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    Word. Steve Kerr’s that dude.

  • robb


  • Hurricane

    The AAU thing makes itself obvious basically every night in the NBA. Its like Dwight Howard, think about how dominant he could/would be had he spent time in college learning his position!! All he does is rely on his athleticism, which works because he is more athletic than probably anyone who plays his position, but his game is dunks, put-backs, and an occasional jump hook that looks like a pain for him to shoot. The guy is phenomenally athletic, but has no low post game to speak of, I promise. I know Mr. Ewing very well, played college ball with his son at Indiana.

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

    So, Kerr is basically talking about most of The NBA.
    Not just The King.

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

    Didn’t most of The NBA’s come up in the AAUs?
    WELL, then The King is a victim of… the system. lol

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    Duhh.. I had to argue this statement this weekend against some Lebron stan. I didn’t even think you could argue that he’s more like Jordan, when he IS Scottie. Everything about him is more Scottie than MJ. Except ego. Scottie has an ego but not compared to Jordan. Ego wise he is Jordan-esque.

  • bike

    The AAU vs college argument doesn’t really come into play in the NBA. The NBA puts a premium on athletic ability often at the expense of good basketball skills. Hence the one and done craze. Still, LeBron does have an unbelievable combination of athletic ability and unique playmaking skills. He could be lethal in a low-post position with his passing ability.

  • flipnoyce

    Cosign STEVE KERR, I’ve always thought Lebron has that PIPPEN on him, I’ve never seen him with an MJ like esque. LeBron needs to mature up to even get on MJ’s level. For Pipp to even say Lebron might be even better than MJ is straight foolish. Pipp was a beast but MJ was a straight up MONSTER.

  • robb

    @LakeShow I never saw MJ referring to himself in the third person, or calling another player and say: “Hey, what’s up this is his Airness”. LeBron, ego wise, is nothing like we’ve ever seen.

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

    A “sometimes shooter”? Scottie was a great player, but he never scored 31 ppg or even came close to that. LeBron is what, top 5 in career scoring averages all time? Third, I think, behind Wilt and Michael. That’s not being a great scorer? How quickly we forget…

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

    He does make some really good points about the differences between today’s AAU-centered recruiting game and the more college-oriented path most players took before.

  • http://slam gezussvs

    Kerr is right. If Lebron would take something like this to heart and work on this aspect of his game he would be even better. Also he doesnt seem to be as quick as he used to be, he is struggling to get good shots up in a half court set. He needs to take people off the dribble more like he used to. Is it just me or was he like 5 highlights a night back in the day in cleveland, (cutting to the room, moving without the ball, back door lobs, baseline lobs). Work on foot work and side to side quickness. I think he is the best player in the league and there is room to improve. He tends to be lazy on the offensive board picks and chooses if and when he crashes the boards and stills pulls down 7 a night, his aggression would be the beginning of a brand new era in the league and im not just talking about on the offensive end, all around, it would be scary. Easy 30-10-8, blocks and steals he would be killin it. Sometimes when you watch him he asserts himself when he wants to, kind of like picking the low hanging fruit, or only when things are going good (team is leading or they are on a run) is when he’s into it. I not saying this because I am piling on, he is my favorite player, huge lebron fan but these are a few facts so dont read this and think I am somebody that doesnt get it cause I do.

  • http://theurbangriot.com The NUPE

    Kerr is right, and I don’t think the AAU comment was anything negative as much as just a realization. As good a LeBron is, he still needs to develop a post-up game, or just accept his role a big point guard (ala Magic). Either way, to be compared to hall-of-famers is never a ‘bad’ thing.

  • Bòt Sèj 2kx


  • Yawn

    @Robbb If you think MJ isn’t egotistical then you’re lying to yourself.

  • giogolo

    i have always admired Steve Kerrs basketball sense excpet the shaq trade. I wonder why gret basketball players suck as coaches,Gms,owners in varying degrees but average ball players or role players make good-great coaches and GM’s. Whats the logic behind? brains vs. brawn/physical talent?