While many NBA superstars are defined by a single great ability[scoring, shooting, driving or defending], classifying LeBron James in such simple terms is impossible. Although he averaged 28.4 ppg during the’08-’09 season and 35.3 during the playoffs, the accumulation of high point totals is only one component of LeBron’s ever broadening game.
LeBron’s multi-faceted output, highlighted by his ability to routinely crush triple-doubles, propelled the Cavs to the NBA’s best record and brought the NBA MVP Award to rest in his hands. His 7.6 boards per game (9.1 in the playoffs) result mostly from his aggressiveness, beastly athleticism and relentless pursuit of the ball at any cost. His 7.2 assists per game (7.3 in the playoffs) stem from his passing skills, great court vision and commitment to team play.
In fact, LeBron’s precision passing and willingness to distribute the ball consistently make his four on-court teammates better. Whether he’s employing a crisp no-look pass to a cutting Varejao, a full-court dart to a streaking Mo Williams or an explosive drive and dish to Ilgauskas, LeBron uses his arsenal of passes to put his teammates in a great position to score. “You need to know your teammates and know what each guy can do,” he says. “You never want to put a teammate at a disadvantage. With any type of pass, you want to put him in a good position, so he can just catch and shoot.”
Here, LeBron lays out the key coaching points and strategy behind his four basic assist-accruing passes.
This is a quick pass, but know your teammate so you can make sure you don’t throw it too hard. The ball shouldn’t be at his head or at his knees; it should right at his chest, so that he can just catch and shoot.
This is a more sophisticated pass. You can use it to trick the defense by splitting defenders or going around or under them,especially if the defender is a guy who plays with his hands up top a lot. Don’t bounce it too high so that it goes over the guy’s head; make sure it’s above his knees. It should be one bounce, then right to his chest.”
This is a great pass when you are being defended, and you need to pass over the defense. That’s why it’s also called a skip pass. Don’ttry to use this when you’re standing a few feet away from the guy. You need range, so you have to be a good distance away to make it work.
This is the pass you want to use when you have a teammate streaking down the court, and you need to cover ground with the ball to hit him on the run. You can’t make a chest pass that far. Use one hand and put it on the money, just like a baseball.
Putting It Into Play
LeBron recommends using the following drill to perfect passing technique once his coaching points have been assimilated.
Fast Break With Pass Finish
Begin underneath one basket with a teammate on the opposite side of thelane. Simulate an opponent’s shot, grab the rebound and begin a two-man fast break toward the opposite hoop. Adhering to the coaching points LeBron outlines, perform a chest, bounce, overhead or baseball pass to your teammate to set up an easy, fast break lay-up as he runs the wing. Alternate the type of pass necessary by varying your distance from your partner at the point of passing. Add defenders as you progress.
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