LeBron James just turned back the clock and looked like his old self by Sam Quinn Mar 7, 2020 at 12:08 pm ET • 5 min read LeBron James is still a good defender. By many metrics, he’s a great one. He’s ranked fourth among all NBA players in ESPN’s Defensive Real Plus-Minus and seventh in Pro-Basketball Reference’s Defensive Win shares, but such numbers generally favor those who exist within great defensive ecosystems. For most of the season, that has been the best way to describe LeBron’s defense. He’s a functioning element of an excellent group, but hardly its driving force. For the most part, he guards weaker opponents and serves as a free safety, calling out coverages and helping or switching when necessary. That role boosts his numbers and creates highlights, but was designed primarily to preserve James for the far heavier load he carries on offense. He still carried that load in Friday’s 113-103 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks, scoring 37 points to go along with eight assists and eight rebounds, but the gravity of the game itself and circumstances within it forced his hand on the other end of the floor. With Giannis Antetokounmpo running roughshod in the first… Read full this story
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