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View Full Version : When did Lebron become a good defender?



JordansBulls
11-03-2011, 05:13 PM
I found this article in 2007 for the 2007-2008 season

http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/recap?gid=2007122005



The two superstars wanted to guard each other in the final moments: Kobe on LeBron. LeBron on Kobe.

It had to end like that.

“I didn’t even ask,” James said. “I just told Sasha (Pavlovic) to go somewhere else.”

James scored 33 points and shut out Bryant when the NBA’s top two scorers went one-on-one in the final 2:23 and the Cleveland Cavaliers bounced back from a dismal loss with a 94-90 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday night.

James added 10 rebounds and five assists. But it was his pressure on Bryant in the final minutes that helped the Cavs recover from a lousy defensive effort in a 108-90 loss at New York on Wednesday night.

James relished the chance to match up with a player he believes is the league’s best with the ball.

“If you want to win, you have to be able to defend the best player,” James said. “I think we both took on the challenge.”
Bryant finished with 21 points, but missed two shots with James chasing him and the Lakers went 0-for-8 from the floor in the final 4 minutes.




So was this the first instance of Lebron being a good defender?

beliges
11-03-2011, 05:16 PM
Its very hard not to be a good defender with that much size and athleticism. The guy is the best athlete on the floor night in and night out. Couple that with his size and strength, he was destined to be a good defender. Now the question remains whether he can take that next step and become a great defender for the majority of his career.

Dade County
11-03-2011, 05:18 PM
Its very hard not to be a good defender with that much size and athleticism. The guy is the best athlete on the floor night in and night out. Couple that with his size and strength, he was destined to be a good defender. Now the question remains whether he can take that next step and become a great defender for the majority of his career.

This... well said man.

PhillyFaninLA
11-03-2011, 05:22 PM
Lebron become a good defender on March 30, 1984.

six
11-03-2011, 05:24 PM
JB I think you mean when "will" Lebron become a good defender.


Ok jokes aside, as much as I love hating Lebron, I can't deny that he is a good defender.

I don't think there was a certain point where he became a good defender, it was a gradual process that he kept on improving year after year. His defense today is what he has been building throughout his career.

PlezPlayDKnicks
11-03-2011, 05:43 PM
Can't lie.. The guy can lock up every1 outside of Melo n Durant.. But he is a good defender 6 outta 7 nights. Can't deny that

bholly
11-03-2011, 05:49 PM
Lebron become a good defender on March 30, 1984.

that's the first time he broke a defense.

sep11ie
11-03-2011, 05:57 PM
Why do you always pull up articals from 4 or 5 years ago?

PhillyFaninLA
11-03-2011, 05:58 PM
that's the first time he broke a defense.

lmfao that is hilarious. (for the record that is 9 months to the day before he was born), but somehow your comment still works.

Ebbs
11-03-2011, 06:29 PM
Definitely not is this the first moment most fans took him seriously on defense maybe. He was on the scale:

Terrible, verybad, bad, below average, average, above average, good, great, all defensive team

he was a good defender the day he came into the league.

JWO35
11-03-2011, 06:32 PM
The same day he won his 1st Ring, which was.....

Tom Stone
11-03-2011, 06:40 PM
I don't like him............but dude can defend.....Ive always found it weird that he can't kill power forwards....he just as big or bigger in some caeses....and doesn't have a post game....I'm 5"10 and like Hakeem on the block.

bholly
11-03-2011, 06:42 PM
lmfao that is hilarious. (for the record that is 9 months to the day before he was born), but somehow your comment still works.

haha, i knew what the date was, that's why i said it.

truther
11-03-2011, 06:50 PM
I don't like him............but dude can defend.....Ive always found it weird that he can't kill power forwards....he just as big or bigger in some caeses....and doesn't have a post game....I'm 5"10 and like Hakeem on the block.

im sure of it

mdm692
11-03-2011, 07:02 PM
Its kinda hard not to be a good defender when you have 30-50lbs and 3-4 inches on the guy ure guarding. He is not a great defender he is a smart defender who chooses to guard the other teams superstar who normally is a pg or sg smaller than him but match him up vs sf his size and its been proven he gets torched, just look at carmelo anthony, kevin durant, iguodala, pierce. All of thos guys mentioned except for probably iggy have gotten the best of james on multiple occassions.

StanfordChamps
11-03-2011, 07:05 PM
He has just gotten progressively better since he came into the league. When he truley goes 100% on defense he is an all time great perimeter defender because the guys 6' 8" 260+ and can move like a guard. That's why when he covered Rose in the 4th Qs in the ECF it there was just nothing Derrick could do about it. Lebron is rose but 6" taller and 50 pounds heavier

Sactown
11-04-2011, 03:45 AM
Its kinda hard not to be a good defender when you have 30-50lbs and 3-4 inches on the guy ure guarding. He is not a great defender he is a smart defender who chooses to guard the other teams superstar who normally is a pg or sg smaller than him but match him up vs sf his size and its been proven he gets torched, just look at carmelo anthony, kevin durant, iguodala, pierce. All of thos guys mentioned except for probably iggy have gotten the best of james on multiple occassions.

This is so wrong... he's not always just guarding the opposing teams guards.. the reason he is capable of doing so is because of his quickness and is intelligence. he's able to stay in front of smaller players and he's capable of guarding bigger players because of his strength.. you can't post him up and you can't go around him. that's why he's a good defender, he simply understands the opposing players offensive plan and is able to prevent it using his speed and strength. He has a high basketball IQ and great feet and hands...

mdm692
11-04-2011, 04:23 AM
This is so wrong... he's not always just guarding the opposing teams guards.. the reason he is capable of doing so is because of his quickness and is intelligence. he's able to stay in front of smaller players and he's capable of guarding bigger players because of his strength.. you can't post him up and you can't go around him. that's why he's a good defender, he simply understands the opposing players offensive plan and is able to prevent it using his speed and strength. He has a high basketball IQ and great feet and hands...

i didnt say he was always guarding guards. He usually does because of his size and quickness and he is successful but when he guards longer players like durant, carmelo, rudy gay, paul pierce etc he is not as efficient as he would be guarding smaller guards

Heatcheck
11-04-2011, 10:04 AM
I saw Derrick Rose blow by every combination of double team in the league the whole year until he got lebron for 6 games. Couple that with the fact that James defends at least 4 positions almost every night to make up for the fact that our roster is absurdly top heavy.

I think its safe to call him a great defender.

mjm07
11-04-2011, 10:42 AM
i didnt say he was always guarding guards. He usually does because of his size and quickness and he is successful but when he guards longer players like durant, carmelo, rudy gay, paul pierce etc he is not as efficient as he would be guarding smaller guards


Stop hating dude. Lebron is a great defender, better defender than all the names you mentioned. No one can stop everyone all the time, Lebron can simply can guard players from position 1-4 and some 5's and he stops most of the players he guards. Hope Melo/Stat can one day do the same.

MDD
11-04-2011, 12:58 PM
Dude star players at his position do torch him!

Avenged
11-04-2011, 01:09 PM
You think that one play against Kobe made him a good defender? as if it happened overnight.

beliges
11-04-2011, 01:35 PM
Stop hating dude. Lebron is a great defender, better defender than all the names you mentioned. No one can stop everyone all the time, Lebron can simply can guard players from position 1-4 and some 5's and he stops most of the players he guards. Hope Melo/Stat can one day do the same.

I wouldnt call him great but hes certainly getting better and better.

Heatcheck
11-04-2011, 01:56 PM
name a better defensive player in the league not named dwight howard.

PlezPlayDKnicks
11-04-2011, 02:07 PM
Dude star players at his position do torch him!

Agreed.
Artest in his prime was a beast def and he was a feared defender. I wouldn't call Lebron that but he's got the tools. Stars get at Lebron more than a guy like Artest. Lebron is solid but far from spectacular. I think he's great in a team defense concept rather than 1 on 1. And 4 those who insists he clamped Rose that was all team defense. Rose had 2 people waitin for him everytime he made a move.

PlezPlayDKnicks
11-04-2011, 02:12 PM
name a better defensive player in the league not named dwight howard.

Toney Allen...

Ill21
11-04-2011, 02:12 PM
LeBron is a once in a life time player with his size and athleticism and these factors alone make him an Elite defender. One play he could be guarding you pg and the next one your pf.

PlezPlayDKnicks
11-04-2011, 02:25 PM
LeBron is a once in a life time player with his size and athleticism and these factors alone make him an Elite defender. One play he could be guarding you pg and the next one your pf.

An elite defender should be able to shut down stars at an above avg rate. He is a great team defender and is very versatile. But I wouldn't say elite. Guys like Bowen , Battier, Artest aren't nearly the physical specimen Lebron is. I think he is an impact defender IMO but to say elite is a stretch.

ALDAVIS>NFL
11-04-2011, 02:39 PM
He's a good defender but not elite, like some of you here think he is... IMO he's overrated defensively

StanfordChamps
11-04-2011, 04:20 PM
Toney Allen...

All star players have to play some what selective defense. Tony Allen isn't asked to carry an offense and he doesn't score 26 a game. He can expend all his energy into defense. Lebron can't play defense all game like Allen because he would be gassed and not be able to contribute like he does on the offensive end. If Lebron was just asked to play defense all game there's no doubt he would be better than Tony Allen. He can cover 4 positions effectively

PlezPlayDKnicks
11-04-2011, 04:38 PM
All star players have to play some what selective defense. Tony Allen isn't asked to carry an offense and he doesn't score 26 a game. He can expend all his energy into defense. Lebron can't play defense all game like Allen because he would be gassed and not be able to contribute like he does on the offensive end. If Lebron was just asked to play defense all game there's no doubt he would be better than Tony Allen. He can cover 4 positions effectively

But Lebron does so regardless it makes him a lesser defender. D12 has a tougher Job of guarding the paint and playing his man and rebounding. Lebron is not an elite defender. He's great in spurts. Elite means great consistently and players hate u guarding them. Artest is prob the last offensive player who was elite on defense @ the sf position

StanfordChamps
11-04-2011, 05:52 PM
But Lebron does so regardless it makes him a lesser defender. D12 has a tougher Job of guarding the paint and playing his man and rebounding. Lebron is not an elite defender. He's great in spurts. Elite means great consistently and players hate u guarding them. Artest is prob the last offensive player who was elite on defense @ the sf position

A knicks fan wants to talk about defense haha

Da Knicks
11-04-2011, 06:28 PM
A knicks fan wants to talk about defense haha

what does that have to do with anything? We are also the fans that want d'antoni fired because he does not push it hard enough.:facepalm:

ManRam
11-04-2011, 06:34 PM
He's a good defender but not elite, like some of you here think he is... IMO he's overrated defensively

Why do you say that?

Every stat in the world suggests he is elite. He often locks down the opposing team's best player. He has been an absolute lock-down defender the past two years...

Jay
11-04-2011, 06:37 PM
He's a good defender but not elite, like some of you here think he is... IMO he's overrated defensively

Sorry brethren, but I ain't taking one word of this.

You could say that about Wade, not LeBron.

mdm692
11-04-2011, 06:46 PM
Stop hating dude. Lebron is a great defender, better defender than all the names you mentioned. No one can stop everyone all the time, Lebron can simply can guard players from position 1-4 and some 5's and he stops most of the players he guards. Hope Melo/Stat can one day do the same.

how is that hating lebron cant guard melo, kd, rudy gay, dirk nowitzki, stoudemire, paul pierce, ill even throw andre iguodala in the mix

Jay
11-04-2011, 06:48 PM
how is that hating lebron cant guard melo, kd, rudy gay, dirk nowitzki, stoudemire, paul pierce, ill even throw andre iguodala in the mix

LOL, that is DEFINITELY hating.

This calls for a :facepalm: moment

mdm692
11-04-2011, 07:05 PM
Hating is saying lebron sucks period but it has been documented that star players at sf and pf torch him. Look no further than melo.

TO Rapz
11-04-2011, 07:05 PM
This didnt make him a good defender...****, it was Sasha Pavolic that was guarding him. He made the reasonable decision and got Sasha off the ball.

PlezPlayDKnicks
11-04-2011, 07:14 PM
A knicks fan wants to talk about defense haha

I guess my psd name from years b4 dantoni doesn't give it away.. Good arguement bro.

mdm692
11-04-2011, 09:56 PM
longer more athletic wingplayers
rudy gay
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tuoUA-SAeF8

carmelo anthony
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n_MY0qUt5CM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Ylfj6LlZLY

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aMsemrpTTg8

http://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&v=SSCDrPPSdfY

heck even grant hill gets on lebrons poor defense and out runs him

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t08XAwmvEGM

mdm692
11-04-2011, 10:04 PM
luol deng
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s1TcGUk228o

gerald wallace
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o-uhGQAsniE

kinda old video but tayshaun prince
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bMHA4gQobFE

im not being a hater but fact of the matter is lebron james struggles vs longer wing players call me what you want but evidence is there

Hawkeye15
11-04-2011, 11:11 PM
3rd year in the league he was well above average. He has been elite the past 2.

Tony_Starks
11-05-2011, 01:37 PM
He's always been a good defender but never great as some people try to overrate him. For example Paul Pierce has been killing him for years up until recently. Melo and Wade had been routinely giving him the business as well.

He's a solid one on one defender, and good help defender but by no means a defensive stopper of any sort....

IndyRealist
11-05-2011, 02:50 PM
All star players have to play some what selective defense. Tony Allen isn't asked to carry an offense and he doesn't score 26 a game. He can expend all his energy into defense. Lebron can't play defense all game like Allen because he would be gassed and not be able to contribute like he does on the offensive end. If Lebron was just asked to play defense all game there's no doubt he would be better than Tony Allen. He can cover 4 positions effectively

That's the point though, isn't it? Lebron can't sustain that level of defense like Tony Allen does. Is Lebron a better player? Absolutely. Is he a better DEFENDER? No.

IndyRealist
11-05-2011, 02:57 PM
He's always been a good defender but never great as some people try to overrate him. For example Paul Pierce has been killing him for years up until recently. Melo and Wade had been routinely giving him the business as well.

He's a solid one on one defender, and good help defender but by no means a defensive stopper of any sort....

See, he is a defensive stopper though. Just not for an entire game. You need a stop in the last 2 minutes, Lebron's going to be on the ball. I think to some extent we're splitting hairs here. Can Lebron lock down anyone at any point in time? Yes. Does he? No.

truther
11-05-2011, 02:59 PM
But Lebron does so regardless it makes him a lesser defender. D12 has a tougher Job of guarding the paint and playing his man and rebounding. Lebron is not an elite defender. He's great in spurts. Elite means great consistently and players hate u guarding them. Artest is prob the last offensive player who was elite on defense @ the sf position

i actually agree with this, he may not be a an elite defender but i think the reason he gets props for his defensive prowess is because he is a very versatile on defense,he is able to guard mulitple positions and even centers too sometimes.

Tony_Starks
11-05-2011, 03:28 PM
See, he is a defensive stopper though. Just not for an entire game. You need a stop in the last 2 minutes, Lebron's going to be on the ball. I think to some extent we're splitting hairs here. Can Lebron lock down anyone at any point in time? Yes. Does he? No.


No I totally agree that he is very capable for brief stretches on playing lock down D. Similar to Wade. But to me thats not enough for me to put him in the "elite" defensive category. I can't put him in the same conversation as somebody like Shane Battier or Grant Hill or even Kobe who are trying to lock you up every minute they're on the floor....

kozelkid
11-06-2011, 02:31 PM
Definitely not is this the first moment most fans took him seriously on defense maybe. He was on the scale:

Terrible, verybad, bad, below average, average, above average, good, great, all defensive team

he was a good defender the day he came into the league.

Ya... no. Not at all.

He wasn't a good defender when he came into the league. Almost no star player is; only defensive specialists tend to be good at that end from day one.

In reality, Lebron became a good defender roughly around the end of his 2nd season, maybe beginning of third as is around the case for most star players.

And last 2 or so he has been elite, although I think he took it another level this season.

Cosmic_Canon
11-06-2011, 05:25 PM
that's the first time he broke a defense.

I see what you did there.

Chronz
11-06-2011, 09:16 PM
An elite defender should be able to shut down stars at an above avg rate. He is a great team defender and is very versatile. But I wouldn't say elite. Guys like Bowen , Battier, Artest aren't nearly the physical specimen Lebron is. I think he is an impact defender IMO but to say elite is a stretch.
Battier/Artest cant touch Bron anymore on-ball or Team Wise. Bowen is out of the league so basically youve named a bunch of guys from the past that dont exist anymore.

The fact that hes a great team defender is why hes ELITE. Its not even a question, hes EASILY among the very best. All the evidence we have visual/statistical suggest such.

I dont know what makes you think he doesnt hold stars down at an above average rate, give me an example of all these great defenders that prevent Bron from being labeled ELITE. Lets set the criteria at CURRENT NBA players.

Chronz
11-06-2011, 09:19 PM
luol deng
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s1TcGUk228o

gerald wallace
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o-uhGQAsniE

kinda old video but tayshaun prince
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bMHA4gQobFE

im not being a hater but fact of the matter is lebron james struggles vs longer wing players call me what you want but evidence is there

Could you provide that instead of isolated footage? If you want to look at individual plays then why not show us the #'s from every possession of every game? Care to guess what those video clips say

Chronz
11-06-2011, 09:22 PM
I have no ****ing clue but I would estimate the year he made the Finals was when he became above average and even then it was iffy

Chronz
11-06-2011, 09:22 PM
No I totally agree that he is very capable for brief stretches on playing lock down D. Similar to Wade. But to me thats not enough for me to put him in the "elite" defensive category. I can't put him in the same conversation as somebody like Shane Battier or Grant Hill or even Kobe who are trying to lock you up every minute they're on the floor....
Kobe? WTF

beliges
11-06-2011, 09:42 PM
Kobe? WTF

While Kobe no longer plays hard defense 100% of the time, he is the most decorated perimeter defender out of any active player in the league so I dont think its feasible to put LBJ in the category of the Kobes or the Battiers at this point in his career.

ManRam
11-06-2011, 09:51 PM
how is that hating lebron cant guard melo, kd, rudy gay, dirk nowitzki, stoudemire, paul pierce, ill even throw andre iguodala in the mix

Wow. He "can't guard" some of the best players in the league. Who can? This is literally one of the poorest posts I've read. Add some substance to it...besides a youtube clip or two.

Gay averages: 16 points a game on 41.7% shooting against LeBron (well below career averages)
Carmelo averages: 21.8 points on 44.3% shooting against LeBron (well below career averages)
KD averages: 27 points on 46% shooting against LeBron (on par with career averages...but look at what LeBron does against him...he murders Durant.)
Dirk averages...well...that's hard to tell since he doesn't man up on him all the time. But either way, Dirk averages 21.9 points on 41.1% shooting (below career averages)
Amare...again, same thing.
Pierce averages 22.3 points on 41.2% shooting (below average)

The best thing, LeBron has more PPG and a higher FG% against all those guys than they do against him. He holds most of those guys to lower FG% than they average. He shuts down lesser guys, but expecting him to much better than that against some of the best scorers in the league is dumb.


For every video you show of a single play where he gets beat, I'm sure there are plenty where he stops them. That's very poor logic. Every stat in the world says you're wrong. Every analyst in the world says you're wrong. If you watched a game without bias lenses, you yourself would tell you that you're wrong.

Chronz
11-06-2011, 09:56 PM
While Kobe no longer plays hard defense 100% of the time
If I take what your asking for literally then the truth is he never did.


he is the most decorated perimeter defender out of any active player in the league so I dont think its feasible to put LBJ in the category of the Kobes
First off, in a discussion about 2011, what Kobe did in 2001 is irrelevant. Being more decorated doesnt make you a better defender in the present. Bruce Bowen didnt retire an elite defender, he was the most decorated defender but he was far removed from his prime.

Secondly I dont agree with his resume, nor do they encompass his defensive abilities.


or the Battiers at this point in his career.
The fact that you named Battier is a glaring contradiction. Bron has actually made All-D first team for 3 years straight, Battier has never finished above 2nd so how is he more decorated?

Your logic is very selective, Battier USED to be a better defender than Bron, that Bron was making All-D first team before him was a joke and only proves how idiotic it is to measure players by how decorated they are.

PlezPlayDKnicks
11-06-2011, 10:34 PM
Battier/Artest cant touch Bron anymore on-ball or Team Wise. Bowen is out of the league so basically youve named a bunch of guys from the past that dont exist anymore.

The fact that hes a great team defender is why hes ELITE. Its not even a question, hes EASILY among the very best. All the evidence we have visual/statistical suggest such.

I dont know what makes you think he doesnt hold stars down at an above average rate, give me an example of all these great defenders that prevent Bron from being labeled ELITE. Lets set the criteria at CURRENT NBA players.

There aren't any anymore. Lebron is great in spurts and is a great team defender. Guys like Artest , Battier were both great man and team defenders consistently throughout their prime. Lebron has the tools but isn't nearly as intimidating as those guys. Crowning Lebron elite is overrating him bcuz the lack of other great defenders. Lebron strikes no fear in other elite scoring forwards like those other guys. Peirce, Melo , and others have toyed with Bron . The guy is the best overall player in the Nba. But I won't be swayed into believing he is a elite. If Lebron is on a island with an elite scorer compared to the others he'd be the last of choose outta the bunch. Now if the ? Said who is the best defensive small forward today it's Lebron no ?.. But elite, nah

mdm692
11-07-2011, 10:44 PM
Numbers

http://www.basketball-reference.com/play-index/h2h_finder.cgi?request=1&p1=jamesle01&p2=anthoca01

Melo shoots about the same as lebron fg% wise while taking less shots, playing less minutes, with a way better 3pt% than lebron, attemping as many free throws, while scoring less 21.8(lebron only scoring 25.2) still managing to win 9 out of 13 games so yeah =/. . .btw melo avgs 24.8 in his career while lebron 27.7 both of them are under their respective career avg when facing each other are you saying carmelo is an elite defender since he holds lebron to 46% only 2% less(still under nonetheless) and 23% from behind the arc(over 10% under his career avg)

LetsgoPack
11-07-2011, 11:02 PM
Lebron shuts down players when he tries 100%. He can't all the time because he is needed on offense so much. Name me one perimeter player who absolutely plays shut down defense all game and carries a significant load on offense

mdm692
11-07-2011, 11:05 PM
Lebron shuts down players when he tries 100%. He can't all the time because he is needed on offense so much. Name me one perimeter player who absolutely plays shut down defense all game and carries a significant load on offense

Correct which is why i cant classify him as an elite defender he carries too much of a load offensively to be considered a lock down defender like battier, or tony allen

PlezPlayDKnicks
11-07-2011, 11:19 PM
I wouldn't say Rondo is better than Derrick Rose and I remember Rondo torching Lebron in the playoffs while he was with the Cavs. So when I hear Lebron locked down Rose I chuckle because that was a total team effort. Lebron was great at his Role of contesting and forcing Rose into the help defense. The Heat totally disregarded the other Bulls players. He's good but elite is a stretch.

truther
11-07-2011, 11:45 PM
I wouldn't say Rondo is better than Derrick Rose and I remember Rondo torching Lebron in the playoffs while he was with the Cavs. So when I hear Lebron locked down Rose I chuckle because that was a total team effort. Lebron was great at his Role of contesting and forcing Rose into the help defense. The Heat totally disregarded the other Bulls players. He's good but elite is a stretch.

rose shot 6% when he was guarded by lebron he SHUT him down,lebron is an elite defender its just hard for some people to say it. rondo is a great passer with vision, so its obviously alot more differnent than guarding a player who gets tunnel vision at times.