LeBron James' game is much different as he enters his third season with the Miami Heat in comparison to the way he played during his tenure with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
“Totally different,” Erik Spoelstra said. “He has completely transformed himself as a basketball player. And in the process, he has completely transformed us.”
James played from the outside-in while with the Cavaliers, attacking from the perimeter in one-on-one isolations.
Spoelstra regrets continuing that offense scheme when James joined the Heat.
“Thinking conventionally that first season with LeBron -- that was my biggest regret as a coach,” Spoelstra said. “I put LeBron in a box. And that’s the worst thing I could have done.”
The Heat finally realized that James didn't fit the mold of a conventional small forward.
“LeBron was a small forward, that’s what we knew,” Spoelstra said. “That was how we built and ran the team (in 2010-11). But after the Dallas series, we decided to start from scratch.
"We always talked about how versatile our team was, but we never thought about what it meant. We had to do away with convention."
The Heat needed James to play bigger when Chris Bosh left the team on bereavement in March.
“We need you to play like a big man,” Spoelstra recalls telling James. “Forget everything you know, you’re a 4 now.”