VIDEO: LeBron James working with Hakeem Olajuwon in 2011

By Royce Young | NBA writer

LeBron James famously went to Hall of Famer Hakeem Olajuwon in 2011 for some post-play help.

And it paid off. LeBron's improved post-up ability is credited as a major part of his dominance in the 2012 playoffs and a big reason the Heat won the NBA title.

Nobody really ever saw what the training session involved, but via Olajuwon's YouTube account, video of it has finally found its way to the public.

What did LeBron and The Dream do? Nothing all that ground-breaking, but more just straightforward footwork stuff and drills to develop a level of comfort on the block. LeBron's game already is probably the most well-rounded in basketball, but the ability to post is just another dimension.

As you can see, LeBron wasn't really drilling on "moves" as much as he was about refining his options when put on the block. There's a slight misconception about what "playing in the post" really means. It's not skyhooks or turnaround jumpers. It's a lot less about moves and a whole lot more about feel. It might sound simple, but getting comfortable playing basketball with your back completely to the rim isn't easy. The basket is the target so it can be awkward adjusting to play looking in the opposite direction of it.

Olajuwon was obviously one of the finest post scorers ever, but it's the decision-making and ability to rapidly scan through options in the post that separates players. When is the double coming? Is it coming? Which defender is most likely to help on me when I make my move? Where do I go? Over which shoulder? All of it is part of playing on the block.

LeBron's evolution wasn't the reason the Heat won a title, but it certainly was part of it. The Mavs exposed some of Miami's limitations by zoning in the 2011 Finals, but with LeBron able to take his game to the post, draw doubles and kick to shooters, the Heat picked Oklahoma City apart.

Seemingly simple stuff, but LeBron is always willing to put in the work, and it paid off.

Via Ball Don't Lie

 
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