Erik Spoelstra: “If I had known that LeBron James was ready to play pivot…” | NBA
It may seem strange but this is only the second time in his career that Erik Spoelstra goes to the All-Star Game. The first time was in 2013. Three-time NBA champion, but never named Coach Of The Year, the faithful Heat coach will lead Team Durant tonight, and he was asked about the evolution of the game of LeBron James and the experiments he could have carried out with him.
» I feel guilty about this. If I had known he was ready to play pivot, I would have done it ten years ago “Replies the Miami coach. » He was playing from position 1 to position 4, but he put all the chances on his side and decided to play in all positions. Ron Rothstein, my former assistant, had 40 years of experience in this league, he had been with the Bad Boys with Chuck Daly and he had been the Heat’s first coach. He was a great mentor to a young coach like me getting into this business, and he always told me 10 years ago that if we played LeBron all season in any position, he would be the best player in the league and the best player in that position, whether it was 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5. We should have tried one of those years. That would have been pretty cool. »
About LeBron James, Erik Spoelstra is therefore admiring of his versatility and his ability to develop his game, but also of his longevity. “He will play at this level for as long as he wants. Off the field, he gets involved and he takes care of his body, he is interested in science, in rest, and he redefines the possibilities of human performance… It should be a source of inspiration for the younger generation who happens, because she could easily play for 20 years and at a high level. »
When a trend becomes general, there is no more advantage
On the « King » and his ability now to play in all positions, what does he think of this basketball without « position »? Listening to him, he shares the analysis of Steve Kerr who believes that it is just a trend.
“Everything is cyclical. Whatever the trend in the current NBA, if everyone is doing it, then the advantage will undoubtedly be for whoever is doing something different. Exactly like when teams played on their size 15 years ago, and we started playing small ball and shooting a lot of 3-pointers. It had become an advantage. But it’s less so when everyone plays the same style. On the other hand, you also need the right squad and the right type of interiors, and that’s what we see in this league right now. There are interiors that can really punish you, and these are the type of interiors that would have been very successful in the 90s. They are capable of having a big impact on basketball. »
Erik Spoelstra is of course thinking of Nikola Jokic and Joel Embiid, perhaps the two best players of the past two seasons. Two pivots who restore their letters of nobility to a position that we thought was outdated.