For years, Hakeem Olajuwon tutored NBA stars in the art of the post-up, teaching his footwork and sorcery in the paint.
If he wanted to, Chris Bosh could coach up a different niche group: big men playing with LeBron James.
“Playing with LeBron was like buying a Ferrari,” Bosh said. “You know it’s the best in the world. It looks amazing when you see it. But you have no idea how powerful it is once you try to drive it. You can go right off the road.”
Bosh learned the hard way. He will walk into the Hall of Fame soon thanks to winning two titles with the Miami Heat and earning 11 All-Star selections, including four playing alongside James. But the only thing that allowed him to learn how to play with James was actually doing it.
For Kevin Love in Cleveland, playing with James meant figuring out not only where he was supposed to be on the court — Love got six fewer shots a game in his first season with James — but also how to avoid mass media and social media quagmires off of it.
When James first teamed up with Anthony Davis in Los Angeles, they sought to avoid those pitfalls by promising each other to try to stay on the same page. “What I’m seeing here is how much they spend time together away from the basketball court,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said. “And quite frankly, even in film sessions, in the locker room, it seems like the two of them are always together and just building that, that friendship. … I think LeBron’s just done everything in his power to make sure that he’s going out of his way to make sure Anthony’s comfortable with his new team.”
The two tried to keep expectations low for their early-season success because of the past issues James had merging with Bosh and Love. But James and Davis are playing fabulously together. Although you see them probing and developing their preferences, the union has exceeded even optimistic hopes for this early in the process.
“I didn’t think we were going to be able to connect this fast just because of the fact he had a lot of stuff going on this summer with ‘Space Jam ,’ so we didn’t get a lot of time to work out together,” Davis said. “Then we hit a short training camp and had to go to China, and all that stuff, so I’m surprised that we’ve got a little connection right now.”
That’s what has surprised Bosh. James, Bosh and Dwyane Wade played with one another on Team USA for multiple sum