The inside guide to shutting down the best player in the NBA
It’s the NBA playoffs again and Cleveland looks like the team to beat in the Eastern Conference. Chicago’s Jimmy Butler has the task of slowly down LeBron. LeBron can be stopped! Over his career (LeBron) has been exposed by less talented defenders on every team except agile, talented and physical players. In the series with Chicago, Coach Tom Thibodeau has to utilize Mike Dunleavy and Tony Snell in stopping LeBron.
The San Antonio Spurs have the key in defending Lebron by utilizing Kawhi Leonard sagging off of him, funneling drives to Tim Duncan, slipping way underneath screens, and doing everything he can to stay in front of LeBron. When LeBron does get past Leonard, he’s running straight into a rotating Duncan and Tiago Splitter before he can get to the rim. San Antonio’s off-ball rotations have been on-point as well — preventing those easy dump-offs that LeBron typically gets when he draws multiple defenders in the paint.
The Indiana Pacers Paul George is another LeBron stopper. George, the Pacers’ small forward, has emerged as a rising young star in last year’s NBA playoffs, with his strong defensive performance against James in the second round and for his outstanding play in Games 1 and 2 against the Miami Heat (back when LeBron was with the Heat). George even drew a compliment from James after the Pacers tied the series a few years ago.
The New York Knicks Carmelo Anthony has played excellent defense against Lebron. Carmelo is 6`8 and can match him point for point, run for run and basketball IQ. “In order to stop him (James) you have to play his style, to slow him down”, says Anthony. “If you allow him to pick up steam when he’s driving, you can’t stop him from reaching the rim!” LeBron, is an avid reader and fan of sports stories and hates to be ridiculed when he’s been shut down. ESPN provides the motivation both good and bad for him.
Off the ball rotations, a quick and agile player, cutting off passing lanes and disrupting his flow are keys to stopping LeBron. You have to remember there’s no textbook way of defending him. Being fundamentally sound is the basic to stopping anyone. I’m sure they watch film on him, but to allow him to run free and make highlight films for ESPN someone has to step up and stop him. How can any player allow himself to be embarrassed on a nightly basis.