Chris Broussard joined the HoopsHype Podcast and talked about LeBron James and his impending decision, but also talked about his legacy compared to other NBA greats.
Specifically comparing LeBron’s coaches to the likes of other great players’ coaches. Here’s what he had to say about the Miami Heat head coach during his time with LeBron James:
“The one thing that’s unfortunate when it comes to LeBron’s career is [he hasn’t had a great coach]. I think that hurts him in the G.O.A.T. conversation and I’m on record as saying he’s the second-best player of all-time behind Michael Jordan. But if you look at a lot of the greats, the one thing they have in common is they had a great coach. Jordan played for Phil Jackson. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Magic Johnson had Pat Riley. Tim Duncan had Gregg Popovich. Kobe Bryant has Phil Jackson. LeBron – with all due respect to Erik Spoelstra, Ty Lue and Mike Brown, who are all good coaches – has never had that iconic coach, that legendary coach who could’ve fully coached him and [gotten the most out of him].
Now, on the outside, what Broussard said wasn’t too much of a slam. I mean, yes Erik Spoelstra is not Jackson, Riley or Popovich. Those are great, Hall of Fame, iconic coaches that have accomplished a ton of things in their careers. And each of them had a piece of the greatest players.
However, he does knock Spo for not “fully coaching” LeBron to his capabilities. In my opinion, that’s a little harsh. Spoelstra has a pretty good reputation for bringing in guys and maximizing their talent. I mean Lamar Odom just said this exact thing, you can read it on HHH.
You look at the guys from last year and to say that Spoelstra can’t bring out the best of a player doesn’t seem right. Has the Heat missed on some guys? Yes. But that wasn’t a lack of development, it was an organizational decision...guys like Patrick Beverly who could’ve made it here, but they didn’t have the patience.
Secondly, when looking specifically at LeBron, he improved his FG% every year he was with Miami. Three out of his best 4 seasons from three-point land happened in Miami. He won 2 MVPs and 2 NBA titles.
LeBron got better, a lot better at basketball while he played in Miami and a lot of that has to do with Erik Spoelstra and how he played him. LeBron has always been responsible for growing his game. The coach is responsible for putting him in positions to succeed and maximize his talent. Spoelstra had to learn that, but I believe he did it.
He moved LeBron to be more of a power player at times allowing the Heat to maximize their offensive potential with Chris Bosh at center and then another wing player on the court. He convinced LeBron to use the 3-point shot as a last case scenario for himself and to get to the hole.
Either way, Spoelstra is not one of the greats (yet). But I don’t think you can knock him for not maximizing LeBron’s game when he coached him — I personally think he did a good job of that.
But it’s open for debate. So what do you think?