LeBron James says there’s a certain error some NBA players make that infuriates him

Jesse Cinquini
4 Min Read
Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James recently shared a mistake some players in the NBA make that really frustrates him.

“How many guys f— up a play outta timeout burns me alive,” James said. “It burns me alive that a coach can sit there and guys — all five guys, 10 eyes — are lookin’ at the play, and they come outta timeout and f— it up — bothers me so bad.”

James is widely recognized as one of the smartest players in NBA history in terms of basketball IQ. Back in 2022, Golden State Warriors star Draymond Green — who has faced James in the playoffs on several occasions — praised the 39-year-old’s basketball IQ.

“I was in a five-round heavyweight battle,” Green told ESPN regarding what it was like to defend Nikola Jokic in the postseason. “That’s coming with Iron Mike-like power punches. But only against LeBron James does that come with having to outthink someone at such a level that it’s almost higher than a level that you can even reach.”

James’ passing chops are one indication of his incredible basketball IQ. He remains one of the NBA’s best playmakers, as he is averaging 8.1 assists per game across 60 appearances with the Lakers so far during the 2023-24 regular season. He is averaging the most assists per game on the team by a decent margin, as D’Angelo Russell ranks second on the Lakers with 6.4 per game.

In terms of how James’ assists average stacks up against the rest of the NBA, only Tyrese Haliburton, Trae Young, Luka Doncic, Jokic, James Harden, Domantas Sabonis and Fred VanVleet are averaging more dimes per game this season. Haliburton leads the NBA in that regard, as he is averaging a whopping 11.3 assists per game.

James’ IQ and passing prowess were on full display in the Lakers’ most recent game against the Atlanta Hawks back on March 18. He dished out 10 assists compared to only two turnovers in a game the Lakers won easily to snap a two-game losing streak.

His passing performance against the Hawks was his fifth game in a row in which he totaled nine or more assists. The most assists he’s had in a single game during the stretch in question came when he totaled 13 in a loss to the Sacramento Kings on March 6.

James will try to continue his excellent playmaking stretch when the Lakers take on the Philadelphia 76ers — who have won their last two games — on March 22. Philadelphia currently owns the No. 6 seed in the Eastern Conference at 38-30 and beat the Miami Heat by seven points in their most recent game on March 18.

Meanwhile, for James’ sake, hopefully he won’t have to watch anyone mess up a play out of a timeout anytime soon — but that may be wishful thinking.

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Jesse is a sports journalist with extensive experience covering the NBA. He has worked as a staff writer covering the Lakers’ dreaded rivals, the Boston Celtics, for SB Nation. He has also covered the New York Knicks for The Knicks Wall.