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THE "LEBRON RULES" PDF Print E-mail

Image Remember years ago when the Detroit Pistons devised the "Jordan Rules", i.e. their strategy to stop Michael Jordan, ranging from varying double teams to getting physical with him.  Ahead 3-2 on the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals, it appears the Dallas Mavericks have devised the following "Lebron Rules", i.e. the blueprint for stopping Lebron James:

Play off Lebron in the Mid-Range

Dallas has been playing off Lebron in the mid-range, almost daring him to shoot.  And it has worked too.  Lebron refuses to even look at the rim from the mid-range, preferring to pass the ball back out to teammates.  The Mavericks know Lebron wants to drive and finish at the rim and by playing off him, they take away his first option.  Everyone knows Lebron didn't go to college and it has hurt his game.  A good college coach like Dean Smith or Bobby Knight would have forced him to work on his biggest deficiency - his mid-range game.  Legend has it that during the Olymplic trials, Jordan wasn't a good "screener."  So during practice, Knight made Jordan set at least one screen before he took a shot, forcing him to be a better screener.  Lebron, like most young players today, wants to shoot three pointers on dunk on you and do nothing in between.  Yes he has made a lot of money to take care of his family, but there is no doubt in my mind that if Lebron had played college ball his coach would have forced him, albeit kicking and screaming, to become a great mid-range player as well. 

Double Team Lebron Before he Can Finish Drives

As soon as Lebron begins to drive the Mavs has double-teamed him and made him pass the ball out to teammates.  Lebron is an unselfish player in that if he has a good shot, and his teammate has a better shot, he gives the ball up.  Double-teaming Lebron takes away high percentage shot opportunities and forces other players to beat you ... smart move by playing the percentages and taking Lebron out of the game "emotionally."  

Gain an Advantage by Getting Physical With Lebron on Dribble Drives

Outside of Shaquille O'Neal, Lebron is the toughest player in the NBA to officiate.  He effectively brings Shaq's physicality to the small forward position.  The Mavs have used that physicality against him by hitting him on drives to the basket and affecting those drive attempts.  Those same plays against Dirk Nowitzki or Dwyane Wade would have resulted in defensive fouls and free throw attempts.  In Game 5 of the finals, Wade attempted 12 free throws in 34 minutes of action and Nowitzki 10 free throws in 40 minutes.  Meanwhile, Lebron was awarded only two free throws in 46 minutes.  Wade and Nowitzki don't have the phyicality of Lebron and shots to the body may be seen as "gaining and advantage," where against Lebron, those same body shots have no effect.  That's a long winded way of saying, as long as the officials don't blow the whistle, then keep fouling Lebron.

"Lou Brock Effect"

Major League Baseball Hall of Famer, Lou Brock, was one of the greatest base stealers of all-time.  He was also even better at psychology and understanding the "game within the game."  After stealing four bases in a game against a team like the Cincinatti Reds, the next day in the paper he would be quoted as saying:

"I stole four bases against Johnny Bench [Reds catcher].  He can't throw me out.  I'm too fast for him.  I can run on him anytime I get ready.  I'll probably steal another 12 bases before this series is over." 

Brock would make thes outlandish statements all the while knowing that  YOU STEAL BASES AGAINST THE PITCHER . . . NOT THE CATCHER!  A pitcher with a slow delivery or an inability to hold the runner could never get the ball to the catcher quick enough to avert a stolen base.  However, Brock's comments served to put a yolk around the catcher's neck . . . keeping him awake at night thinking about throwing out Brock, instead of calling the came.  Maybe he would call more fastballs or set up on the outside of the plate to get a better throwing angle.  Or maybe he would rush, causing an errant throw during steal attempts.  

The "Lou Brock Effect" has been employed effectively on Lebron by the Mavericks and the media.  Lebron was almost deified by NBA experts and critics alike when he first came into the league.  They praised his high basketball IQ, team play, ability to make teammates better and his overall "Magic Johnson-like" game.  However, in the finals, though he plays like Magic, he is being criticized for not being "Michael."  He has been critized for "shrinkage," having only scored 11 points in the fourth quarter through the first five games.  Both Gregg Doyle (CBS Sports) after Game 3 and Jason Whitlock after Game 5 have alluded to such ( http://clicky.me/5XLq ).  Noone would never have criticized Magic Johnson's lack of point production in the fourth quarter.  Instead, they would have praised how well he ran the club and looked at his point production in addition to his assist total.  Moreover, the story is not Lebron's shrinkage in the fourth quarter but the fact that the Mavs have consistently double-teamed him, and forced him to find the open man or the guy with the "better shot."  In effect, Lebron has a yolk around his neck (lack of point production in the fourth quarter) for something out of his control (the Mavs double teams forcing him to make the "high percentage" play).

In the much-anticipated book, SHOCK EXCHANGE ... How Inner-City Kids Predicted The Great Recession And The Pain Ahead , the Shock Exchange breaks down the college game, the NBA and the necessary changes to improve the product.

Where to Buy:

Shock Exchange is available electronically through Barnes & Noble (NOOK), Amazon (Kindle), iTunes, etc. The print version is available through the following retailers and bookstores: 

Amazon www.amazon.com

Barnes & Noble online www.Barnesandnoble.com

Alibris  www.alibris.com

St. Marks Bookshop: (212-260-7853) www.stmarksbookshop.com , located 31 3rd Avenue, New York, NY

Word: (718-383-0096) www.wordbrooklyn.com , 126 Franklin Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11222

Greenlight Bookstore: (718-246-0200) www.greenlightbookstore.com 

Hampden-Sydney College Bookstore: http://cougar.hsc.edu/cgi-bin/main_inv.exe , item number: 38561. Or call Jason Huskey at 434-223-6117.

Call Mr. Baker Directly: 917-697-8168.

Libraries:

Farmville-Prince Edward Community Library

Bortz Library - Hampden-Sydney College

Cleveland Public Library

University of Buffalo

Longwood University

Alexandria Library

Florida A&M University

Los Angeles Public Library

Virginia Union University

San Francisco Public Library

Medgar Evers College

LaGuardia Community College

Robert W. Woodruff Library - Atlanta University Center

Albright Memorial Library - Scranton, PA

Stark County District Library

 




 

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