One of the dominant storylines of the NBA preseason has been the emergence of LeBron James as a Leader.
The Cavaliers are younger and less experienced than his Miami teams, and LeBron is making big, overt gestures to show that he’s going to be the alpha dog this year.
Minutes before coach David Blatt was about to start the team’s first practice, LeBron abruptly called a players-only meeting that lasted for a half-hour. During the meeting he went around to all his teammates and told them what he expected of them this season.
During preseason camp he learned Blatt’s playbook in two days and preceded to stay after practice to teach his teammates the plays from all five positions.
In a new article by Lee Jenkins in Sports Illustrated, we get some more details about LeBron’s leadership offensive.
Lakers player Carlos Boozer, who played with LeBron in Cleveland 10 years ago, told SI that LeBron goes home and watches individual cut-ups of each of his teammates so he knows where to get them the ball. LeBron has continued that practice this offseason, Jenkins reports, watching tape of Kevin Love, Kyrie Irving, and the other Cavs so he’d be ready for training camp.
LeBron told Jenkins that he knew how to get Love points before they had a single practice together:
“I’ll get a better feel through practice, conversations, bus rides. But I do already know, let’s say if Kevin is struggling, there are a couple of ways I can position the other three players on the floor and get him a look in his sweet spot.”
Jenkins says LeBron got really into management strategies this summer, including the importance of body language:
“He has read several books on management styles and believes he must carefully monitor his body language so as not to discourage young players. He compares his charges with his two sons, who have different personalities and therefore require different teaching methods. ”
Body language is a minor obsession in the business strategy world.
It’s clear that LeBron sees himself as some combination a chief executive and a father figure on this largely unproven Cavs team. Love and Irving have never been to the playoffs, or even come particularly close. Veteran players like Mike Miller, Shawn Marion, and Anderson Varejao have been around forever, but guys like Dion Waiters and Tristan Thompson have never played a meaningful NBA game.
LeBron transformed himself physically this summer, losing a ton of weight of a 67-day diet. If all these anecdotes are to be believed, another significant transformation came in his demeanor off the court.
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