Lakers News: Recent Lakers Coach Discusses Cavaliers’ Early LeBron James Workout

A second-generation NBA journeyman point guard and Los Angeles Lakers assistant coach recently discussed LeBron James’s workout for Cleveland Cavaliers personnel prior to the 2003 NBA draft.

A former second-generation NBA journeyman reserve point guard and Los Angeles Lakers assistant coach was in attendance when eventual L.A. great LeBron James, while still enrolled at St. Vincent-St. Mary High School, wowed Cleveland Cavaliers personnel with a workout two years prior to his becoming eligible for the NBA draft. Cleveland would of course go on to select the eventual 18-time (and counting) All-Star with the top pick.

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John Lucas III, son of former Houston Rockets guard John Lucas II, was most recently an assistant coach on Frank Vogel’s Lakers staff during the 2021-22 NBA season. 

During a fresh conversation with Brandon “Scoop B” Robinson of Bally Sports, Lucas, who was present for LBJ’s pre-draft Cavs workout details the experience.

In the clip, Lucas mentioned which NBA players James reminded him of, including three all-time Laker greats. “I think [with young LeBron James] you got a little bit of Magic [Johnson], you got a little bit of [Tracey McGrady], you got a little bit of [Michael Jordan], you got a little bit of Kobe, you got a little bit of Kareem [Abdul-Jabbar], you got a little bit of Earl ‘The Pearl’ [Monroe],” Lucas opined. “You got a little bit of everybody mixed up, you don’t know what’s in there, but it’s really good… That’s what we call ‘gumbo.'”

“He was [in] his junior year [of high school] when that happened,” Lucas declared. The elder John Lucas II was at that point in the midst of his first season as the team’s head coach. John Lucas III, then a freshman at Baylor University, numbered among the four college players present for the workout. Per Branson Wright of Andscape, the (strictly prohibited) workout of a player who was still in school transpired in May 2002. Cavaliers point guard Bimbo Coles, shooting guard Bryant Stith, power forward Jumaine Jones, and centers Chris Mihm and DeSagana Diop also participated on that fateful day.

James played for the Cavaliers from 2003-2010, and again from 2014-2018. During that tenure, he was twice named league MVP and carried Cleveland to five NBA Finals, winning in 2016.

After going undrafted in 2005, Lucas played sporadically in the NBA, G League (then called the D League), and abroad before securing more permanent NBA employment in 2010 as a reserve guard for the Chicago Bulls.

In 242 NBA games, the 5’11” point guard averaged 4.7 points, 1.5 assists and one rebound during 12.1 minutes of game action a night, while shooting .383/.344/.768. All told, Lucas played the Rockets, Bulls, Toronto Raptors, Utah Jazz, Detroit Pistons and Minnesota Timberwolves across parts of eight NBA seasons.

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