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LeBron James: I’ve called sets for the last 11 years

LeBron James Cleveland Cavaliers

On Tuesday, ESPN.com’s Brian Windhorst mentioned on “The B.S. Report with Bill Simmons” that LeBron James calls his own plays at times and his a much more prominent role in the Cavaliers’ play calling on offense. Since the podcast’s publication, both James and head coach David Blatt have downplayed the importance of this designation, going as far as to compare the relationship to that of the chess-like game of football.

“What typically happens—and this has been happening for like three months now—is LeBron will take the ball, and LeBron will call the play. David Blatt will see what play LeBron calls, and he will repeat it to the team,” Windhorst stated to Simmons.

On Wednesday, Blatt shed some light on the machinations of the team’s offensive play-calling, further explaining what Windhorst mentioned.

“When the game is going on and you are in the heat of the battle at times, you can’t get a message through or you don’t want to stop the flow, so a guy may [call the play on his own],” Blatt said.

When asked if he encourages James to assume the play-calling responsibilities, Blatt responded with, “”Yeah, especially when it works,” Blatt joked. ”No, but I mean, again, it can happen and it’s not an all-the-time thing, but it certainly can happen.”

Following Blatt’s response, James then downplayed the situation and admitted that he has called his own plays at times throughout games. During Thursday morning’s shootaround, James stated that he has called offensive sets for the last 11 years—”I wasn’t smart enough my rookie year,” he said—and compared his on-the-fly decision-making to that of Hall of Fame-bound quarterbacks Peyton Manning and Tom Brady calling an audibles.

“I don’t have the freedom to call all the plays,” said James. “I have the freedom to call sets, but it’s no different from Miami and no different from when I was hear before. Why wouldn’t you? It’s no different than telling Peyton Manning or Tom Brady they don’t have the freedom to change [plays] in the huddle.

“It’s just I have a feel for the game,” said James. “I know what helps our team and we got great minds. Our coaching staff are great. I thank them that they allow me to give some input on what I think we should do at times, but ultimately it’s their call. So, it’s great to be able to just get different sides of the game with some of the great minds that we have.”

Blatt maintains his role of drawing up plays during timeouts, but even at this point, he gives James and the offense freedom as well. During the team’s recent victory over the Indiana Pacers, it was James who recommended center Timofey Mozgov guard the ball on a last-second in-bound play. The in-bound pass was lofted just high enough to get over Mozgov’s outstretched hands, but was subsequently not able to be corralled in time to get off a set shot, allowing the Cavaliers to walk away with a win.

“We have a package,” James said. “If I see something, I have the right to call plays. Kyrie does as well. We kind of do that play calling. Coach Blatt does the play calling obviously throughout the game in timeouts, but it’s great to be able to have some type of freedom out there with Kyrie to be able to call sets that we feel best suit our team.”

 

  • BP

    I’ve always liked Windhorst, but this year he has been after the Cavs in general and Blatt very much in particular. He’s starting to come across like jealous tween girl.

  • BenRM

    Absolutely true. Windy is anti Blatt and he admits that they don’t get along. I was unsurprised when I heard him blow this up into something it wasn’t.

  • woofersus

    He’s been pretty effectively ESPN-ified is what happened.

  • CB Everett

    Yep. Dare I say, the whale has jumped the shark.

  • LeBron James, future Cleveland Cavaliers head coach. Confirmed!!

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Owner or part owner wouldn’t be to bad.

  • MrCleaveland

    OMG, PEYTON MANNING HATES ALL HIS COACHES!!!!!!!

    The only time a basketball coach should call a play is maybe at the very end of a close game and only if he knows there’s a very good chance it will work. The idea of coaches calling plays while the game is in progress is ridiculous.

    The coach’s job is to prepare his team, to manage their minutes, to call time when needed, and to offer helpful information. It’s not to micro-manage their every trip down the court. Jeez!

  • When you consider the fact that LeBron has talked to some of the most richest individuals out there on how to become an entrepreneur, I wouldn’t be surprised if that happens.

  • JM85

    LOL nice one.

  • JM85

    Lebron should be a candidate for MVP, coach and GM of the year.

  • Deebo

    No frienz 🙁

  • What did he blow up, exactly? He didn’t report it as news. He said something accurate on a podcast and various other outlets turned it into a headline. I can understand some of the consternation that former local guy has to cover a team from a national angle, but to make I sound like he is the one who blew this up is completely unfair.

  • cmm13

    You forgot Hair Restoration Model.

  • BenRM

    It’s like Lull mentioned in the podcast: It’s how he is presenting it. Word choice and intonation convey an incredibly negative connotation, even if the the statement is factually accurate.

    Alternatively, if he presents it rationally – or was “insider” enough to realize LBJ has been doing this for years – it’s much closer to the non-story that it actually is.

  • Me either, his goal is to become a billionaire just like Jordan.

  • Windhorst, is despised by most in Cleveland, despite his attempts to paint himself a ” hometown” guy.Mostly his sources are from Krispy Kreme donuts. This is the same guy who said Kyrie wanted out of Cleveland, that he and LeBron drifted apart and if James were to return they would have to trade their star PG for someone who would fit better with the LeBron.

    His sources told him, LeBron was staying in Miami following NBA Finals, we all know what happened next,when the King want to SI to announce he was coming home.. His letter discredits Windy comments as he wanted to play with Kyrie to help him grow and become the best PG in NBA…

  • AGREED

  • Why are defending Windy? He has been a bag of lies for a long time. Claims Kyrie wants out of Cleveland, no chance LeBron comes back, turmoil, saying the Cavs were losing on purpose to get the coach fired, Lue wanted Blatt’s job, calls K.Love a robot on national TV,NBA Tonight…

  • How about his recent comments? at it’s center it’s a non story about LeBron calling plays: best player in the world and what coach wouldn’t give him that freedom? Like he said he’s been doing that for his whole career, even in his days in Miami. but Windhorst framed it in a way to ,create controversy this was not a mistake. He always speaks negative about Cleveland,

    I swear Windhost, makes it like he wants to undermine Blatt and the Cavs. His coverage is,nothing but negative so how can you not see that?

  • Let me tell you, many Cavs fans would love a Anti-Windhorst blog. A lot of radio & other blogs are afraid of his ESPN connections to say anything, he always creates unnecessary drama for the Cavs and Coach Blatt, he undermines Blatt at every chance, and then pretends, LeBron/Love don’t like each other..

    When EVERYTHING is FINE! in Cleveland!!

  • Agreed, LeBron has been a player coach for a while now. Every in Cleveland before he want to Miami, he ran the offense. With the Heat LeBron’s style of ball was pushed on the team so much that they had to get certain players so LeBron could thrive. With the Cavs we saw LeBron surrounded with players that made his style of driving and kicking out the ball if double teamed implemented. This has always been the case and will be if LeBron is the,main,potion on a team..

    So it’s a non-story etc, but like you said Windhorst framed it in a way to create controversy, he’s always negative when he speaks about the Cavs, and always undermines Coach Blatt at every chance he gets. This is the same man who said Kyrie hates Cleveland, and,LeBron,didn’t want to play with him lol….

  • Agreed, LeBron has been a player coach for a while now. Every in Cleveland before he want to Miami, he ran the offense. With the Heat LeBron’s style of ball was pushed on the team so much that they had to get certain players so LeBron could thrive. With the Cavs we saw LeBron surrounded with players that made his style of driving and kicking out the ball if double teamed implemented. This has always been the case andwill be if LeBron is the,main,potion on a team..

    So it’s a non-story etc, but like you said Windhorst framed it in a way to create controversy, he’s always negative when he speaks about the Cavs, and always undermines Coach Blatt at every chance he gets. This is the same man who said Kyrie hates Cleveland, and,LeBron,didn’t want to play with him lol….

  • Please stop listening to Windy, he is honesty despised by most in Cleveland despite his attempts to paint himself a ” hometown guy” when LeBron left for the Heat EVERY time Windy spoke it was always negative towards the Cavs or Cleveland. He wants you to think he and the KING are buds but they are not..

    LeBron has a inner circle of friends and Windy is not as part of it never was.. He used to be great at breaking down the game action but now he is more of a tabloid journalist. This is one of the reasons his sources are always wrong, Kyrie wanting out of Cleveland, no chance,LeBron would ever return home….

    Can you please do me a favor and stop listening to him. Thank you ):