LeBron James

SK808

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Lebron screwed up here. I never considered the Lakers a real contender. It was always between the Clippers and Raptors. I always saw those meetings as kawhi doing his family as solid and meeting with their old favorite. But it was a 3rd man way down the list. He didn't want to be Lebron's lackey and he wanted his own show(and he should).

He should have known that and gone after other players. He exposed himself as a bigger fraud than ever. If Davis ends up being less than expected(and a larger reason than people want to admit why NO lost most of his tenure there), I could see Lebron just quitting and maybe retiring. His plain pandering for a man who was not going to cow tow with, Lebron really comes off looking weak. He should have looked for other pieces to build around and didn't. He wanted Kawhi to do the work while he rested. In my mind for AD, that looks weak............very very weak. He is basically putting you down as well.
I had a sense Kawhi wasnt going to the Lakers when I saw LeBron show up to summer league in a damn hat that said Lebronland on the side. All of LBJ's promises to Kawhi about stepping back and letting it be his team were complete nonsense. Everyone knows that when you are on Lebron's team, it's his show and he runs everything. He cant have it any other way.
 

MediumBaller

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I watched tons of Lakers games last year and i would purposely watch Lebron just on the defensive end for large portions of the games and his defense was absolutely putrid. As for comparing him to Kawhi, i honestly didnt see many Raptors games until the Playoffs so i cant comment on the comparison. I do know that watching old Bron on D last year was pure comedy. Guys blowing by him and then him him yelling at a teammate or pointing to a teammate. Lots and lots of standing around in spaces where there was nobody even to defend. Lebron is the same old Bron on offense, but his defense or whatever you call that is trash.
This just shows that you didn't actually watch the games. The "eye test" is not accurate in even the slightest.

LeBron was 51st of 514 players in DRPM (top 10%) and 9th of 96 small forwards.

His team is 3.1 points per 100 possessions BETTER defensively with him on court (equal to the 10th best defense with him, 23rd without him).

Players whom James has defended overall season FG%: 46.5%.
FG% when defended by James: 42.7% (-3.8%, 10.1 FGAs defended per game)

Players whom George has defended overall season FG%: 45.7%
FG% when defended by George: 43.7% (-2.0%, 11.9 FGAs defended per game)

Players whom Kawhi has defended overall season FG%: 46.0%
FG% when defended by Kawhi: 45.1% (-.9%, 10.3 FGAs defended per game)

Players whom Butler has defended overall season FG%: 46.1%
FG% when defended by Butler: 47.0% (+.9%, 12.7 FGAs defended per game)


You're entitled to your own opinion, but you're not entitled to your own facts. The facts are that LeBron was top 10% in the league in DRPM, the Lakers were better defensively with him on the court than off, and players shot worse when guarded by LeBron than when they weren't.
 

cavsfever

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Wow, really surprised by those stats Mediumballer. Doesn't square with the eye test, but does square with some of the absolutely dominating defensive performances we've seen from him in the playoffs when motivated.

The biggest gap between the Lakers and teams like the Clippers or Utah looks to be defensively. If you look at the Clips, the Beverley/Kawhi/PGIII combo will give them a historically good perimeter defense, I'm talking one of the best ever. The Lakers perimeter defense looks like it will be mediocre at best. Guys like Quinn Cook and Troy Daniels are horrible defenders. Vets like Rajon Rondo and Jared Dudley were once good defenders but now are creaky senior citizens who are (generously) below average defenders. Danny Green and KCP are above average defenders but not anywhere close to being NBA all-defense type players, in a totally different league than the Clippers. Lebron can only do so much. The PG defense in particular is going to be an absolute sieve.

Anthony Davis and JaVale McGee give them some good interior defense, but they can't block three pointers.
 

MediumBaller

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Wow, really surprised by those stats Mediumballer. Doesn't square with the eye test, but does square with some of the absolutely dominating defensive performances we've seen from him in the playoffs when motivated.

The biggest gap between the Lakers and teams like the Clippers or Utah looks to be defensively. If you look at the Clips, the Beverley/Kawhi/PGIII combo will give them a historically good perimeter defense, I'm talking one of the best ever. The Lakers perimeter defense looks like it will be mediocre at best. Guys like Quinn Cook and Troy Daniels are horrible defenders. Vets like Rajon Rondo and Jared Dudley were once good defenders but now are creaky senior citizens who are (generously) below average defenders. Danny Green and KCP are above average defenders but not anywhere close to being NBA all-defense type players, in a totally different league than the Clippers. Lebron can only do so much. The PG defense in particular is going to be an absolute sieve.

Anthony Davis and JaVale McGee give them some good interior defense, but they can't block three pointers.
I know statistics don't always tell the whole story, but he was genuinely bad on defense his last year in Cleveland and the numbers reflected that. I think his last year in Cleveland and the lowlights people saw on social media affected the perception of his defense last year. He's not close to his prime on that end, but I'd say he was still a plus defender with the Lakers.

Definitely agree with the perimeter defense being a question mark for the Lakers next year. Their best hope might be hoping LeBron + AD and shooters is good enough on offense to carry a mediocre defense.
 

NIkeL

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I'm really surprised by those stats as well. I would never say that he was a net positive on the defensive side last year going by the eye test.
 

bee-eazy13

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There were some lowlights on his defense last year, but I’ve watched a lot of Lakers games last year (sons are big Lebron fans smh)

He was pretty decent on D and much better than he was here his last year. 2nd and 3rd effort plays on D weren’t there but when guys went at him in an iso situation...that almost never worked out for the offensive player.

His help D has fallen off but his on-ball D is still very good
 

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Lakers got Avery Bradley...if he can stay healthy he could be the kind of 3&D player they need. He is undersize for guarding big wings and has been weirdly inconsistent the last few years but if he can guard opposing PGs and SGs and hit 3s he could be very helpful.

Lakers have a weird roster, they go very deep in what you might call question mark players -- guys who are flawed but can produce well at times and will maybe give you something. Cousins, Rondo, McGee, Bradley, KCP, Jared Dudley -- all guys who have had some good seasons in the past and can maybe do stuff for you but could also end up being useless liabilities on a playoff team. Even their younger players like Cook, or, hell, Kuzma have that feel to them.
 

MediumBaller

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Lakers got Avery Bradley...if he can stay healthy he could be the kind of 3&D player they need. He is undersize for guarding big wings and has been weirdly inconsistent the last few years but if he can guard opposing PGs and SGs and hit 3s he could be very helpful.

Lakers have a weird roster, they go very deep in what you might call question mark players -- guys who are flawed but can produce well at times and will maybe give you something. Cousins, Rondo, McGee, Bradley, KCP, Jared Dudley -- all guys who have had some good seasons in the past and can maybe do stuff for you but could also end up being useless liabilities on a playoff team. Even their younger players like Cook, or, hell, Kuzma have that feel to them.
Kuzma was pretty good offensively for most of the season, imo. He was averaging 19/6 on 56 TS% in 53 games before the all-star break. Then there was all the trade drama and he was playing through a hip injury, which I think partially led to the drop in his numbers after the break. For reference, Tatum was averaging 16.5/6 on 55.7 TS% before the break. Of all the young Lakers players he's the one I wanted them to keep most because he fits best with LeBron. We'll see which Kuzma is the real one when it comes to his 3 pt shooting - 37% rookie year, 30% second year.
 

billmac91

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This just shows that you didn't actually watch the games. The "eye test" is not accurate in even the slightest.

LeBron was 51st of 514 players in DRPM (top 10%) and 9th of 96 small forwards.

His team is 3.1 points per 100 possessions BETTER defensively with him on court (equal to the 10th best defense with him, 23rd without him).

Players whom James has defended overall season FG%: 46.5%.
FG% when defended by James: 42.7% (-3.8%, 10.1 FGAs defended per game)

Players whom George has defended overall season FG%: 45.7%
FG% when defended by George: 43.7% (-2.0%, 11.9 FGAs defended per game)

Players whom Kawhi has defended overall season FG%: 46.0%
FG% when defended by Kawhi: 45.1% (-.9%, 10.3 FGAs defended per game)

Players whom Butler has defended overall season FG%: 46.1%
FG% when defended by Butler: 47.0% (+.9%, 12.7 FGAs defended per game)


You're entitled to your own opinion, but you're not entitled to your own facts. The facts are that LeBron was top 10% in the league in DRPM, the Lakers were better defensively with him on the court than off, and players shot worse when guarded by LeBron than when they weren't.
I'd qualify the data though.....the stats are the stats, but how do they account for the following?

-Transition defense when players need to scramble (I bring this up because LeBron has increasingly looked like D-wade in that respect.....often doesn't bust his ass back in transition)

-Does it take pace of play into account? The Lakers pace was slower with LeBron on the court than when he was off. Luke Walton wanted to push tempo, and Bron acquiesced a bit, but the tempo was even faster when he sat. Faster pace of play often correlates to not only more PPG, but higher FG% because there are more transition opportunities

Just my initial thoughts after seeing your stats, because I watched a ton of Lakers last year too, and did not see good defensive output. I saw a mostly disinterested guy (similar to his last 2 years in CLE) that looked like he was conserving energy for the offensive end.

I'd be curious to see his defensive metrics for his last regular season in CLE as well.....are they comparable? I ask, because again, the Lakers seemed like (2) different teams to me.....they played fast with LeBron, but game still ran through him, and he would revert to what he was comfortable with. With LeBron off the court, they'd go full Lakers speed, the way Walton wanted to play. Which led to quick shots and awful defense. In Cleveland, because the team was built around LeBron, and they style of play was ingrained, I don't think the variance would be as wide.
 

MediumBaller

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I'd qualify the data though.....the stats are the stats, but how do they account for the following?

-Transition defense when players need to scramble (I bring this up because LeBron has increasingly looked like D-wade in that respect.....often doesn't bust his ass back in transition)

-Does it take pace of play into account? The Lakers pace was slower with LeBron on the court than when he was off. Luke Walton wanted to push tempo, and Bron acquiesced a bit, but the tempo was even faster when he sat. Faster pace of play often correlates to not only more PPG, but higher FG% because there are more transition opportunities

Just my initial thoughts after seeing your stats, because I watched a ton of Lakers last year too, and did not see good defensive output. I saw a mostly disinterested guy (similar to his last 2 years in CLE) that looked like he was conserving energy for the offensive end.

I'd be curious to see his defensive metrics for his last regular season in CLE as well.....are they comparable? I ask, because again, the Lakers seemed like (2) different teams to me.....they played fast with LeBron, but game still ran through him, and he would revert to what he was comfortable with. With LeBron off the court, they'd go full Lakers speed, the way Walton wanted to play. Which led to quick shots and awful defense. In Cleveland, because the team was built around LeBron, and they style of play was ingrained, I don't think the variance would be as wide.
He was at a -0.68 drpm his last year in Cleveland, and was at 1.83 this past season.

For reference, here is where he's at for each year since the statistic was created.

13/14: 0.43
14/15: 2.76
15/16: 3.30
16/17: 1.93
17/18: -0.68
18/19: 1.83

I'd have to look to find the statistics for opponent's shooting percentages against him from his last year in Cleveland.

This video does a good job breaking down his defense from last year with the Lakers.
View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hsxlu7nYdhU


It's a little lengthy, but it's interesting. I'm very anti-eye test when it comes to evaluating defense because when you watch the games in real time you miss out on a lot of the little things. Without going back and watching film it's hard to gather much from the eye test, imo.
 

Joe Charboneau

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This just shows that you didn't actually watch the games. The "eye test" is not accurate in even the slightest.

LeBron was 51st of 514 players in DRPM (top 10%) and 9th of 96 small forwards.

His team is 3.1 points per 100 possessions BETTER defensively with him on court (equal to the 10th best defense with him, 23rd without him).

Players whom James has defended overall season FG%: 46.5%.
FG% when defended by James: 42.7% (-3.8%, 10.1 FGAs defended per game)

Players whom George has defended overall season FG%: 45.7%
FG% when defended by George: 43.7% (-2.0%, 11.9 FGAs defended per game)

Players whom Kawhi has defended overall season FG%: 46.0%
FG% when defended by Kawhi: 45.1% (-.9%, 10.3 FGAs defended per game)

Players whom Butler has defended overall season FG%: 46.1%
FG% when defended by Butler: 47.0% (+.9%, 12.7 FGAs defended per game)


You're entitled to your own opinion, but you're not entitled to your own facts. The facts are that LeBron was top 10% in the league in DRPM, the Lakers were better defensively with him on the court than off, and players shot worse when guarded by LeBron than when they weren't.
Well you are wrong. I watched tons of Lakers games. You do realize Lebrons bad defense is a running joke all through the media and the league. . Its not like im the only guy noticing it.. i dont know how they come up with those stats, but i sure didnt see him locking anyone up. What i saw was him standing around waiting to get the rebound. Look, i know you LOVE Lebron, and his offense is beastly, unstoppable. Its ok to admit his defense is baaaad. Hes 35, some part of his game had to start breaking down and its his defense.
 

billmac91

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Definitely a good video, but I think it mostly serves to reinforce whichever your position on the debate is.

I took from that video, and the narrator states it, the metrics don't account for individual match-ups, so when LeBron is assigned the worst offensive wing to presevre his energy on the other side of the court, it skus the data in his favor.

The data also shows he moved the least amount on the defensive end in his entire career.

I get that the metrics say he was a plus defender. But numbers can be skewed to fit whatever narrative you want. I know you have warned against the eye test, but the eye test shows a guy self-preserving his energy, especially in transition and help defense (help defense also not accounted for in the metrics) and in a fast paced league, where help defense and transition defense are critical, it seems a bit naive to rely on data that can't account for it.

LeBron can still be elite in spurts, there's no question about that. That said, I for one really found his defense to be disheartening and frustrating his last two years in Cleveland. I think it created friction in the lockerroom and on the court, and led to some really lethargic regular seasons, and then bad habits that had to be fixed on the fly in the post-season. And I saw the same LeBron in a Lakers uniform last year. It's very reminiscent of Wade in the Finals against the Spurs to me. Just never put the effort in on transition defense when they were the trail defender. Missed shot at the rim and the ball is going the other way...."fuck it, I'm not going to make much of an impact anyways, I'll conserve energy or just take my time bitching at referee for a call". There were rumors of the Boston guys (Jae Crowder and Isaiah Thomas) having isues with LeBron's "do as I say, not as I do" approach. LeBron was lazy AF defensively in Cleveland, and would point his finger all the time at guys....meanwhile, he can't muster the effort to get back on defense when his 7'0" wingspan and freakish athleticism could certainly make an impact.

With that said, I respect and understand his motivation for conserving energy and trying to lengthen his career. He's going to need to cut some corners in some places, to create as much longevity as possible. It's why his defensive player movement is worst in the league for players over 28mpg. But it's also why I kinda call bullshit on the defensive metrics. You can't tell me a guy who moves as little as LeBron does on defense, is a net positive. After watching the video, I now understand why his defensive rating doesn't match what my eyes are seeing.
 

NIkeL

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That's because MJ had a team that won 55 games and nearly got to the Finals without him...while he was taking 2 years off to pursue a baseball career, that is.

More shit takes, please.
That's what irritates me in this thread. I get that people are mad/don't like him, but saying stupid shit just out of hatred that makes no sense is just dumb and adds nothing to the thread.
 
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