Why Would it Come as a Surprise to Anyone that Lebron Calls Plays?

Following a recent ESPN podcast that looked at the player-coach relationship in Cleveland between star forward Lebron James and Coach David Blatt, the topic of James calling plays has become a hot topic in the world of sports. James acknowledged he has the freedom to call plays during the flow of the game.Cleveland Cavaliers v Boston Celtics

We all know Blatt is just a puppet disguised as the coach of the Cavs and that James runs the show. I am sure this was a huge point of discussion with James and Cavaliers’ owner Dan Gilbert before Lebron made a triumphant return to the team he spurned four years earlier.

Shortly after James signed to bring his basketball talents back to the cold winters of Cleveland, the Cavs traded number 2014 one overall pick Andrew Wiggins and 2013 number one overall pick Anthony Bennett to Minnesota in a three team trade that brought in all-star power forward/center Kevin Love. That trade had Lebron written all over it. There was no way James was going to give up some of the spotlight to the multi-talented Andrew Wiggins.

Lebron was brutally honest earlier today when questioned about his role calling plays.

“Why wouldn’t you give me the freedom for play-calling? That’s like telling Peyton Manning or Tom Brady, don’t give them the freedom to change in the huddle. I’m a smart, cerebral basketball player, my basketball IQ is very high, and I take that very seriously, so I know what best suits our team and our coaching staff does as well. But, you don’t allow me to call plays throughout the course of a game, then that’s not good for our team. I can come down the floor and know what happened two possessions ago, or three possessions ago or a quarter ago and know how we can exploit a defense. It’s just my knowledge of the game. I know how defense works, how they play me, and I can call a set to get my teammate an open shot every time, just knowing how the defense plays me. So being able to have that mind frame and that basketball IQ benefits our team.”

I definitely think James comes off as arrogant in his quotes, but he is arguably the best player in the game even as he has reached the age of 30.

Even Blatt supports James calling plays as much as he does as stated in his quote below.

“At times, according to the flow of the game, somebody may call out a play I don’t think that’s unusual, no. Certainly if you know what you’re doing, you have a plan going in. That’s obviously not an all-the-time case, but it’s going to happen during the course of the game, sure.”

I see no problem with players occasionally calling their own plays because they are the ones on the court and get a feel for what the defense is showing. However, calling a few plays here and there can quickly turn into players overriding plays signaled by the coach as done by point guard Rajon Rondo of the Dallas Mavericks.

Rondo called his own plays consecutive times down the court and Mavericks’ coach Rick Carlisle became so incensed he screamed at Rondo in front of the fans and throughout the timeout. The point guard was benched the rest of the game and had a heated exchange with Carlisle in the locker room afterwards. Rondo was benched one game for conduct detrimental to the team and says he and Carlisle talked things over and the incident is in the past. A public confrontation may not happen again, but there is talk that Rondo will not sign with the Mavericks at season’s end because he wants more freedom to call plays on the court.

It all comes down to how comfortable the head coach is allowing players to call a number of plays throughout the game. James did admit that Blatt does call all plays coming out of timeouts. I can’t see Gregg Popovich or Phil Jackson relinquishing so much control to their players. However, this seems to have worked for Blatt and Miami coach Erik Spoelstra who gives a great deal of play-calling freedom to Dwyane Wade.

To each his own. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

And that’s as I see it!

Follow my blog As I See It at http://Scottdm71.com

Twitter handle: @Scott_AsISeeIt

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Internal photo courtesy of http://www.uproxx.com

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