Duncan Robinson praises LeBron James on his high basketball IQ and says that he only realized how smart he was when playing him in the Finals.
LeBron James is one of those rare athletes that can definitively be classified as a one of one. There will most likely never be another player with a body type similar to LeBron James and do all the things he does on the court.
However, one of his biggest assets when on the court, would have to be the way he approaches the game from a mental standpoint. James is lauded for being one of the smartest basketball minds that has ever stepped foot on NBA hardwood and it shows.
Night in and night out, James makes plays that seem like premeditated attacks on the opposing defense. He sees plays before they even happen and remembers extremely precise details from games that he played hours prior.
His manipulation of the game is best showcased when on the biggest stage: the NBA Finals.
Duncan Robinson recalls playing against LeBron James
The Miami Heat surprised everyone when they waltzed their way into the NBA Finals last year as a 5th seed in the East. With guys like Duncan Robinson and Tyler Herro stepping up in a huge way, some even gave Heat a puncher’s chance at snagging the title over LeBron and the Lakers.
Though the Heat gave it everything they had, the Lakers eventually disposed of them in 6 games. Duncan Robinson had a rude awakening in the Finals as it was the first time he had gone this deep in the postseason, and went toe to toe against LeBron James no less.
“LeBron is so strategic in how he approaches the game. I didn’t realize it until I was in it. In the Playoffs last year or in the Finals, it’s almost like he’s playing chess when he gets the ball. He’s moving players, pointing, manipulating things, getting the floor structured to exactly his liking before he attacks.”
At 36 years of age and in his 18th season, the ‘King’ cannot always rely on the athleticism he fell back on back when he was 26. Though he hasn’t shown major signs of slowing down, James has started to defer to orchestrating an offense, more so than trying to take over a game through multiple isos and using his brute strength to get to the cup.