Increase Basketball IQ

How to Increase Basketball IQ and Be Smart Like LeBron James

If you want to increase your basketball IQ, you should learn from LeBron James. He’s got the biggest basketball brain in the NBA and is currently the best decision-maker.

Ya know that one Gatorade commercial where Michael Jordan plays against his younger self? The one where his younger self says “I could’ve dunked that.” Then present-day Jordan says “you should have dunked that?”

(Ah, the memories…)

Yeah, this is what LeBron James does with his teammates all the time.

If one of them misses a shot, for example, he’ll pull them aside during a timeout and tell them what they should’ve done instead.

He also tends to direct them in-game so that they can execute a game plan that he most likely thought up in the previous possession.

That’s how big of a basketball IQ he has.

And this (not his strength and explosiveness) is LeBron’s best feature and skill. He’s just a really big (figuratively and literally) basketball nerd.

And (similar to Chris Paul and his high IQ) this is one of the reasons why he’s been able to be so competitive as a 30-something-year-old in the latter years of his career.

How LeBron James Uses His IQ

Players tend to lose athleticism when they age. This is just nature. And, you may not have noticed it, but LeBron has lost some athleticism.

He’s still throwing down vicious dunks and bulldozing down in the lane, but he doesn’t do it as often anymore.

And when he does use his superior athleticism, it’s calculated.

What I mean by this is before LeBron decides to do anything on the court, he analyzes the defence first. Then he looks back into his memory to try to find patterns that he can expose. Then, within a couple of seconds, he makes his decision and acts.

So, every time you see LeBron throw down his signature dunk, just know that he actually put a bunch of thought into it beforehand.

How His Decision Making Has Aided Him

By having this unique ability, LeBron has been able to extend his career, in my opinion.

The reason why is that great decision-making doesn’t require your body to be beastly, for a lack of a better term (I know there are better terms, but I just like this one, okay?). It only requires you to be smart and knowledgeable about the game and have a good foundation of the skills.

You only need to be a master of the fundamentals, which doesn’t require a lot of athleticism, and you are ready to use your IQ to execute your game plan.

And this is what LeBron has been doing in the past few seasons.

As I said previously, he calculates everything he does. Before he assists a teammate, attacks the basket, or shoots a jumper, he analyzes to see which will be the most effective and efficient or which will expose his opponent’s defence.

For instance, before he attacks the rim, he will assess the defence to see which direction he’ll drive into or spin into.

By playing basketball this way, LeBron doesn’t have to rely on his athleticism. This prevents a lot of injuries because most of the time, he’s making plays for his teammates or shooting perimeter shots.

Additionally, when he attacks the rim, for instance, he only does so when he knows there’s not going to be a lot of contention or traffic.

Why You Should Develop Your IQ and How to Do So

So, you’re probably thinking right now about how this is relevant to you. Well, I believe you should develop your basketball IQ because it will make you a better overall basketball player.

The reason being is that you’ll understand the game more and will be able to read the court better and decide the best course of action. You’ll play a smarter game.

For example, instead of trying to out-dribble a defender and then attacking the basket for a contested shot, a high IQ will show you that there are more ways to score.

Maybe you can run a pick and roll. Or maybe you can pass to a teammate and then cut in for an easy basket. Or maybe there’s an opportunity for a hockey assist.

By increasing your knowledge, you’ll make better decisions and this will make you a better basketball player.

You also don’t have to spend a bunch of time developing your physical attributes, such as quickness or explosiveness, or spend time making your game look pretty (i.e. fancy ball-handling and lay-ups).

You just need to hone your fundamental skills and work on your basketball intelligence via watching basketball (or studying LeBron film) and listening to analysts.

I also want to add that you don’t need to study the game like a military general. You just need to have a basic understanding of what to do when a specific action happens.

You also have to be observant and aware of these actions and of patterns that occur in a game and react accordingly.

Additionally, you have to get some experience. You have to play in games and/or in scrimmages. This is the only way to learn the game and to apply everything that you learned from film; this will give you an opportunity to experiment.

Final Thoughts

LeBron James is one of the best decision-makers to ever play the game. He’s a fantastic playmaker who knows exactly what to do to get a basket and when to do it.

And because of his big brain and high IQ, he’s been able to remain one of the best players in the NBA, season after season.

So, be like LeBron and develop your basketball IQ. It’ll make you a better player without you having to spend time upgrading your ball handling package and without you having to do Olympic lifts to become more athletic.