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Film Study: LeBron James shows off elite defensive IQ vs. Knicks

LeBron James showcased an elite “counter-spin” defensive technique in the Lakers’ recent win over the Knicks.

New York Knicks v Los Angeles Lakers Photo by Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images

Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James returned from the “left knee soreness/effusion” he was dealing with to get back on the court against the New York Knicks. But despite missing the previous five games, James looked like he hadn’t lost a beat — both physically and mentally, showcasing his incredible IQ on both ends of the floor.

James’ defensive IQ in particular was on display on multiple plays vs. Julius Randle in the second half during the Lakers’ torrid comeback. On one of those plays, a 1-on-1 possession against the former “Baby Laker,” LeBron combined that uncanny reading of the game with elite movement adaptability as well.

I deconstructed that elite sequence step-by-step in the following video:

LeBron processes things so quickly, and combined with his physical skills, it can look like he did it by accident — but nothing is by accident when it comes to the King. There’s a reasoning and process behind nearly all of his actions, and that’s what makes him arguably the most cerebral player to ever grace an NBA court. And just because it came during a random February game against the Knicks doesn’t make it any less worth appreciating when James showcases his special brand of brilliance.

Dr. Rajpal Brar, DPT has a doctorate in physical therapy from Northern Arizona University, and runs his own in-person and online sports medicine and performance business, 3CB Performance, in West LA and Valencia, CA in which he further combines his movement expertise and fitness training. He also works at a hospital — giving him experience with patients in the immediate healthcare setting and neurological patients (post stroke, post brain injury) — and has been practicing for 4 years. Brar is additionally training at UCLA’s mindful awareness research center (MARC), has a background in youth basketball coaching and analyzes the Lakers from a medical and skills perspective for Silver Screen and Roll and on his own YouTube Channel. You can follow him on Twitter at @3cbPerformance.