LeBron James is widely considered to be one of the better defenders in the NBA. Whether he is truly effective defensively or officials are just too scared to call fouls against the league’s biggest star is a debate for another day. Regardless, LeBron has the size and speed to cover just about anyone in the league. Serge Ibaka does not agree.
“LeBron is not a good defender,” Ibaka said Monday according to the Palm Beach Post. “He can play defense for two to three minutes but not 48 minutes.”
More specifically, Ibaka feels as though LeBron cannot cover Kevin Durant. Can anyone? James began covering Durant in Game 2 after K.D. dropped 36 points on 12-of-20 shooting with Shane Battier covering him in Game 1. In Games 2 and 3, Durant put up 32 and 25 points, respectively. Obviously the results were better for Miami, but K.D. is going to score no matter who is covering him.
“LeBron can’t play (Durant) one-on-one,” Ibaka added. “They’re playing good defense like a team.”
As long as the Heat continue to win, I’m sure LeBron is not concerned with Ibaka’s opinion of his defensive ability. The risk you run with someone like LeBron covering Durant is that it could wear him out and make him less effective on offense — where the Heat desperately need James most of the time. The bottom line is it doesn’t matter if Durant scored 100 points between Games 2 and 3 because the Heat won. They did so with LeBron covering him, so at the moment that’s the plan the Heat will stick with.
H/T I Am a GM
Photo credit: Derick E. Hingle-US PRESSWIRE