LeBron James has seen just about every defense imaginable throughout his career and has had his fair share of postseason battles with players. On the “Mind the Game” podcast with JJ Redick, James named Stanley Johnson as one of the more underrated defenders he faced during their playoff series in 2018: “I think it was my first year back in Cleveland on a return and it was our first-round opponent, I think we played Detroit, if I’m not mistaken. I think KCP was on that team, (Andre) Drummond was on that team, a couple of other guys was on that team, obviously Moose (Greg Monroe) was on that team, I believe. I think Stan (Van Gundy) was coaching, if I’m not mistaken. I think Stan was coaching that team. But back to your question, Stanley Johnson he earned my respect in that first-round series. Stanley Johnson, he had the lateral movement, he had the physicality. You can tell the coaching staff told him ‘Don’t worry about the schemes.’ I feel like the same thing with Dort, don’t worry about the schemes yet. Everybody’s switching but you. You get through every screen. If you weakside lowman, you have no responsibility, you don’t pull in. You’re basically playing a box-and-one. There’s a lot more guys, obviously, I would give credit to defensively but that’s the one guy off the top of my head. It’s not recent memory, it’s 10 years ago but it’s recent enough. But Stanley definitely possessed those skills in our league, for sure.” -via Lakers Nation / May 21, 2024


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