By Jeremy Clements
(St. Louis, Mo) LeBron James‘ latest comments have caught the attention of basketball fans across the nation. I’m not here to address what he said though. I’m here to shed some light on what his bigger problem is and how he could have avoided it.
Contrary to what some say, his biggest problem isn’t maturity. Without a doubt some of his comments and the way he’s conducted himself since leaving Cleveland has exhibited immaturity. But as he gets older he will learn how to better conduct himself and how to more carefully use his words. The biggest problem that LeBron James faces is the fact that he has no mid-range game.
If you go back and look at the highlights of his games in the earlier rounds of the playoffs and compare it to his games against the Mavericks in the Finals, you will see that glaring problem. If LeBron wasn’t knocking down his three’s he was living in the paint. He doesn’t have an intermediate jumper. That is why he never seems to take over a game the way a superstar is supposed to.
Now I’m not saying he can’t correct that issue by practicing. It wasn’t long ago that people said that Michael Jordan couldn’t hit a barn from beyond the arc and after hours of practice he turned himself into a sold perimeter shooter. But if you go back a few years you could find a solution to that and many of the other problems that have faced LeBron.
Granted, LeBron would have been the typical “one-and-done” player who leaves for the NBA after his freshman year. But think about it, if he would have stayed one or two years in college he might have had a chance to learn to deal with the media. Especially during March Madness. He would have also had more time to develop his game without the pressure and scrutiny that comes with being a superstar in the NBA.
Perhaps I’m unrealistic. College basketball isn’t full of elite players, so maybe he wouldn’t have faced equal talent. But regardless of the talent level NCAA athletes are exposed to the media, they are taught how to handle themselves and handle the pressure to the media. Then if you go beyond that more importantly they also develop their game and become better players.
Either way, I am sticking by my theory. I believe that if LeBron would have spent some time in college he just might be able to avoid some of the problems that plague him today.