Thursday, December 27, 2007

LeBron: Passing since birth

As a former point guard, Avery Johnson can appreciate a good passer. LeBron James rates far above “good” in Johnson’s book.

“He’s a fantastic passer,” Johnson said. “He’s one of the best passers in the league. His court vision, to have it at this age, he’s head and shoulders above a lot of players the way he can pass the ball.

“That’s really a lost art in our game these days, just being able to make good quality on-time, on-target passes. That’s what I see in his game.”

I asked Johnson if that kind of passing ability can be taught or is it instinctual (Side note: A fellow media member chided me after about using “instinctual.” “Try spell checking it,” he quipped. Well, it got through.)

Anyway, Johnson said that court vision/improved passing can be taught, but different players pick it up at different rates. Dirk Nowitzki is a good example of one working on his passing skills. Johnson also pointed out that LeBron has grown up recognizing the value of sharing the ball.

“He’s been double-teamed probably since he was a baby, right?” Johnson said, drawing laughs from the media. “And then there’ve been other players that couldn’t shoot that tried to make it as a passer, if you know what I mean.”

Yes, we know. You did pretty good for yourself, Coach.

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