Much has been said about LeBron James’ basketball intelligence, but Washington Wizards head coach Scott Brooks decided to add to the narrative.
According to Brooks, whose team was obliterated by James’ Los Angeles Lakers 125-103 Friday night, the four-time MVP is so smart that he makes up imaginary plays to confuse opposing teams. But when the same thing is done to James, he calls the opposing team out.
Scott Brooks talking about how smart LeBron is. He said sometimes he calls out fake plays to try to deceive other teams, and when he’s done it against LeBron’s teams, LeBron has responded, “You guys don’t have that play!”
— Fred Katz (@FredKatz) November 30, 2019
James may have done something similar to the Wizards in their first meeting this season when he recorded 23 points, three rebounds, 11 assists, two steals and one block.
Brooks’ assessment of James’ ability to read plays is eerily similar to the evaluations made of the Lakers star by other head coaches. The Detroit Pistons’ Dwane Casey and the Los Angeles Clippers’ Doc Rivers have told similar stories.
During an episode of NBA TV’s “Open Court” a few years ago with several coaches appearing as guests, Casey, who was coaching the Toronto Raptors at the time, and Rivers spoke about the difficulty of playing against James because of his incredible IQ.
“The [smartest] player to coach against, and one most difficult going through in the playoffs, was LeBron James,” Casey said. “This guy was looking in your mouth right there and just calling it, he was telling the players exactly what was gonna happen on the play that you called.”
“That changed, and you know this,” Rivers told Casey. “We beat them a couple of times when he was in Cleveland. He was not that way. I’ve never seen a change in a player. I knew we were in trouble in Miami when we were coaching. When he was in Cleveland, he was just playing basketball. We get to Miami and he’s in Miami now and he’s calling our plays out, he’s staring over at our bench. He’s reading stuff. I remember saying, ‘This is not good.’”
In the game between the Lakers and Wizards, Brooks also complimented James’ team by calling them the league’s best this year.
“That’s the best team in basketball,” Brooks said. “Their record is 17-2 for a reason.”
The two teams meet again on March 28 at Capital One Arena in Washington.