LeBron James is a hard player to scout for. Not only is he a three-level scorer, but he’s one of the most gifted playmakers the NBA has ever seen and he’s not even a point guard. Trying to scout for James is like trying to prepare for a bear attack: you can do all of the homework there is to do on bear attacks, but nine times out of 10, the bear’s going to come out on top.
The difference between James and a bear, though, is that James does his homework too, and Chicago Bulls rookie Patrick Williams learned that the hard way on Saturday. As the Bulls tried to get their offense going against the Los Angeles Lakers, James called out their plays to his teammates, making it harder than at already is to score against the No. 1-ranked defensive team.
Patrick Williams says LeBron James was calling out some of the #Bulls' plays ahead of time.— Cody Westerlund (@CodyWesterlund) January 24, 2021
"You can tell he watches a lot of film," Williams says.
James confirmed Williams’ comments after the game, but he said it’s something he does against all of his opponents to try and give his team a competitive edge.
“I study the teams,” James said. “I prepare for the teams every day leading up to the game. I watched film on them yesterday, watched their game yesterday that they had vs. Charlotte, and then I watched a lot of film this morning, and I just tried to get accustomed to a lot of sets that they run so that I could keep my guys prepared, keep them a little bit ahead of the play.
“Just being very knowledgable about some of the sets they like to run, some of the ATOs, some of the things they like to run in the halfcourt, and things of that nature just to have my guys keep their heads on a swivel and not get surprised by anything.”
At 36 years old, the expectation is that James will lose his physical advantage some time soon because that’s typically what happens to players his age. However, he’ll always have that mental advantage over his opponents because of the work he puts in leading up to the game and the way he sees the game, which is probably why the Lakers were comfortable giving him a two-year, $85 million extension just a few weeks before his 36th birthday.
It’s been said before, but it bears repeating: the Lakers are lucky to have LeBron James.