Rick Barry: Scary thing about Lebron James is that he can be even better

rick-barryNBA Hall of Famer Rick Barry believes NBA champion Lebron James has an opportunity to become an even better player.

Yesterday, another Hall of Famer Julius Erving said on Fox Sports that for Lebron to become the best of all time, he needs to pass Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

Barry went on to explain his comment on James, when he was asked about James’ consistency with his outside shot (per Hot Hot Hoops (via PBT)):

“It’s just repetition and the fact that he has his elbow in, which I made a big deal about it a number of years ago, that’s improved his shooting form dramatically and it’s one of the reasons why he had the kind of year he had,” Barry said.

“Go look at film of him from 3 or 4 years ago, look at his elbow and look at it from last season. You’ll notice a dramatic difference. He was never going to be a good shooter, a consistent shooter, with his elbow out. He’s become a more consistent shooter and he needs to keep working on that and make sure that’s good,” he added.

“There’s stuff that he could do off the dribble, as great as he is, there’s nuances that I’ve learned over the years that if he was taught those things – I’ve extended that courtesy to him and I told him I’d be happy to show him some of the things I’ve learned, we’ll see if I hear from him,” Barry said.

He also added that he’d be happy to try to make James’ game better and take it to a different level.

“That’s the scary part about it, the guy is already unbelievable as it is and the scary part is that he can be even better,” Barry said.

Barry also spoke about the NBA finals 2013, which he believes, should’ve ended differently.

Ray Allen saved the Miami Heat from certain death in Game 6 of the NBA Finals, reaching back and knocking in a monster baseline three to force overtime against the San Antonio Spurs.

According to the always opinionated Barry, Allen’s legendary bomb shouldn’t have counted since he supposedly committed a travelling violation when setting his feet behind the line.

“There’s no question about it, just watch the replay that they showed from the overhead camera. He catches the ball with one foot down, steps back, brings the foot that he had down back to shoot the ball. That’s traveling, you can’t move your pivot foot without dribbling,” Barry said.

When asked about the officials’ opinion on that move, Barry shared his thoughts.

“It happened so quickly that the official just saw Ray doing it and he was looking down probably just to see if he got behind the three-point arc,” he said. “It was a great shot, but they didn’t call it so it doesn’t matter. They got away with it, so lucky them.”

Rick Barry is considered to be one of the greatest pure small forwards of all time as a result of his very precise outside shot, uncanny court vision, knowledge and execution of team defense principles, and unorthodox but accurate underhanded free throw shooting.

Barry is one of the few elite players who altered their games without losing effectiveness; he broke into the professional ranks as a rebounder and all-purpose scorer before he became a primary ball distributor and lethal perimeter threat.

Named one of the 50 Greatest Players in history by the NBA in 1996, Barry is the only player to lead the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), ABA and NBA in scoring for an individual season. In 1987, Barry was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

Barry holds career averages of 30.5 ppg, 7.5 rpg playing in the ABA, appearing in 226 games.

In the NBA, Barry played 794 games, averaging 23.2 ppg, 6.5 rpg and 5.1 apg.

Barry’s combined statistics for both NBA and ABA are: 1020 games, 24.8 ppg, 6.7 rpg, 4.9 apg in 37.4 mpg.

Barry won the NBA championship with Golden State Warriors in 1974-75 season. He was also a 4-time ABA All-Star and 8-time NBA All-Star.


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