During the 2019-20 NBA season, James has been one of the clear cut best players in the league but when Green was a rookie, that statement was still true.
In 2009, James was two seasons off his first NBA Finals appearance and was leading a weak Cleveland Cavaliers team to the Eastern Conference Finals where they lost to Dwight Howard and Orlando Magic, who eventually went on to lose to the Lakers in the NBA Finals. But from them until now, one thing that hasn’t changed is James’ status among the elite of the league.
Green discussed the evolution of James’ game over the past decade, according to Omar Raja of ESPN:
“It’s crazy … He’s still doing the things he was doing in 2009. Obviously, he’s just a more mature adult… kids that are older — teenagers. He’s learned how to win. He’s gone to places and won three titles since then. Back then, obviously he was vocal, but not as vocal as he is now. He was kind of sharing the team with him and Shaq. He knows how to also encourage his teammates. His IQ was obviously great then and it’s even better now. He knows how to put guys in places to make them successful, so he makes the game easy. And then he did make the game easy, but it wasn’t on purpose. It was just him being so great and playing the game… it was easy for his teammates. Now he’s making the game easier by putting people in places.”
The way James seamlessly transitioned from small forward to point guard in his 17th season is remarkable and shows just what type of player James is. He’s always been a facilitator, but the way he’s been able to evolve that into being a full-time point guard is unprecedented.
Much like many fans, Green appreciates James’ greatness and loves being able to play alongside him. James has always made the game easier for players like Green but is doing so even more with the way he’s changed his game this season.
Many in the world are waiting for James to give up his place atop the league, but he may not for a while with the way he can change his playing style on a dime.