Smith, Vogel debunk claims LeBron uncoachable
LeBron James
AFP

Smith, Vogel debunk claims LeBron uncoachable

Alder Almo (Philstar.com) - July 18, 2020 - 1:53pm

JERSEY CITY, New Jersey — JR Smith will have the chance to atone for his 2018 Finals blunder as he teams up with LeBron James anew.

Smith, who was signed as a substitute player for Avery Bradley, has noticed that a lot has changed with James since their infamous endgame drama in Game 1 of the 2018 NBA Finals.

“I’d say more than anything he’s more patient now,” Smith said of James during the Lakers zoom call with reporters on Friday.

“I think when he was younger, he had that more of a shorter fuse with things I would say. Now, whether it be a good thing or a bad thing, he has changed his work ethic. I just think he’s more relatable and easier to get along with. Before, he was always so focused on his drive and winning and stuff like that, but I feel like that pressure is kind of off his shoulders, and he can just be him,” Smith added.

A lot of that could be attributed to James being in a much better situation now than in 2018 when he had to carry the Cavaliers to the Finals without major help following the departure of a disgruntled Kyrie Irving. In his second season with the Lakers, James has perhaps the best big man he’s ever played with in Anthony Davis and a solid supporting cast.

“He doesn’t have to orchestrate the offense or the defense or what somebody did wrong. He can let the coaches do their job. I think that’s a true testament to him growing. I watch interviews and stuff when people say he’s “not coachable” because he knows so much about the game, but he’s probably the most coachable person out there,” Smith said.

James may have had contentious relationships with his past coaches before, but it’s never the case with Frank Vogel. The first-time Lakers coach was able to earn James’ respect in just a short amount of time.

“I can’t comment about how he’s been in the past, but he’s been extremely coachable for me and our coaching staff here this year, ” Vogel said of LeBron. “He and I have established a great partnership. I rely on his input on day-to-day decisions and the way we’re doing things.”

Vogel though has maintained control of the locker room despite his collaborative approach with their superstar.

“Ultimately, I have to veto him in certain situations if we’ve got to make sure we’re not going too long in practice and whatnot, but he’s been absolutely wonderful. I mean, I couldn’t ask for anything better from his coachability standpoint,” Vogel added.

That’s the one thing that really struck Smith in his reunion with James.

“More than anything, I think he’s just so much more patient and his delivery and how he goes about the process of the game if he sees something he doesn’t like, of course, he’s going to say something, but I think he gives people more of a chance and opportunity to voice their opinion and do their job,” Smith said.

James’ newfound patience will be tested once the playoff action heats up. And it will be interesting to find out if he will react differently now if Smith or any other Laker commits a crucial blunder.

 Postcript: The NBA and VIDAA USA, Inc. yesterday announced a multiyear partnership to make NBA League Pass, the league’s premium live game subscription service, available for purchase on all Hisense and Toshiba TVs through the VIDAA smart TV platform.  Beginning with the 2020-21 NBA season, more than 20 million users of VIDAA-enabled smart TVs across Africa, Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America and the Middle East will be able to purchase NBA League Pass and watch hundreds of live NBA games each season through the VIDAA platform. 

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