Dennis Rodman is one of the greatest defenders in NBA history. Therefore, even when he’s disparaging of LeBron James, you should listen.
Rodman created a name for himself in the NBA during his heyday as one of the peskiest defenders around. He used his wiry, yet strong physique impeccably in trying to set himself up in a good defensive stance.
As a result, Rodman at a height of barely 6’7″ was able to guard every single NBA position. From point guard to center to shooting guards and small forwards, The Worm understood implicitly just how to cut off attacking lines for different players with different positional strengths.
His talent for sniffing out his opponents’ moves meant that Rodman was probably the only player in basketball history to be asked to guard both Shaquille O’Neal as well as Michael Jordan in the playoffs.
Rodman was a rigorous practitioner of ‘The Jordan Rules’ when Chuck Daly implemented him. Being from an old-school basketball mentality, you can understand how Rodman frowns on the modern NBA.
“LeBron James is so easy to play, he only attacks in straight lines”: Dennis Rodman
The Pistons and Bulls legend was in an interview with Overtime some 2 years ago. Given his brusque, direct demeanor, you wouldn’t expect Dennis Rodman to speak anything other than his version of the truth.
Rodman was instantly critical of how soft the NBA has become, citing LeBron James as his prime example. In the 2-time DPOY’s mind, James plays in too predictable a fashion:
“I would’ve locked his a– up. LeBron is so easy to play. He’s so f****** easy to play. He don’t have any moves. The only move he has is straight down the line. He ain’t got no moves. Where’s he going?”
“His game is too simple. He’s just big…you know, 260…6’8″, 6’9″, whatever. That’s the only thing he’s got. Pretty much.”
This is a lazy indictment of LeBron’s offensive game. Teams release detailed scouting reports to their most capable swingmen and are still unable to limit The King’s impact on games. This clearly means that there’s more to James’ game than merely driving in the PnR.
That doesn’t mean, however, that Rodman’s criticism is without merit. Modern NBA basketball does not allow defenders to initiate their own contact with the offensive players.
Rodman played with the firm belief that even behemoths like Shaquille O’Neal wouldn’t be able to dislodge him if they tried. LeBron, by comparison, is a mere human being.