Rockets Ask Chris Clemons To Role Play As LeBron James In Practice

Rockets Ask Chris Clemons To Role Play As LeBron James In Practice

Rockets Ask Chris Clemons To Role Play As LeBron James In Practice

Chris Clemons is 23 years old, 5-foot-9, and sees about eight minutes of action per game. LeBron James is 35 years old, 6-foot-9, and gets roughly 35 minutes of action per game. At first glance, the two seem to have little in common.

However, when the Rockets are running sets with the scout team in preparation of their games against the Los Angeles Lakers, the two men are one in the same.

This week, Sean Highkin of the Bleacher Report shined a light on how Houston utilizes Clemons in various practice scenarios to mimic James’ habits. The goal, obviously, is to figure out how to defend the Lakers’ star — and the only way to do that is by having your very own LeBron James to work with.

“LeBron actually plays [point guard] most of the time,” Clemons said.

“He’s pretty much everything on the court. He plays a whole bunch of different positions. That’s what makes him special. So I would definitely say being a point guard helps, skill set-wise, in trying to replicate his game.”

Clemons takes his role very seriously.

“It’s two different studies of film,” he told Bleacher Report.

“We obviously have our team film session, where we go through our game plan and stuff like that. But then I have to go off on my own and do a little bit of extra work to break down some film of the guy I’m playing as, to pick up their mannerisms and their tendencies as best as I can and try to mimic it on the court during these practices.”

According to Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni, this sort of practice allows the player serving as the impersonator to really embrace the role of whomever they are playing as.

“Sometimes a player plays a lot better when he thinks he’s somebody else,” he said.

“It’s amazing, when we watch it we say, ‘Why don’t you play like that all the time?’ We tell them, act like you’re Kevin Durant or whoever. And they go crazy. They start scoring the ball.”

The Rockets are currently down 2-1 in their best-of-seven series against the Lakers. One big reason why has been their general inability to slow down James over the past two games.

So while the strategy of using Clemons as a mini LeBron James is certainly an interesting one, its effectiveness is questionable.

LA and Houston will square off for Game 4 on Thursday afternoon. If the Rockets emerge victorious, the series will be tied at two games apiece and very much anyone’s to win.

Should the Lakers prevail, then their spot in the Western Conference Finals will become all but set in stone.

Related: Colin Cowherd Gets Brutally Honest About Dallas Cowboys

Anthony Amador

A graduate from the University of Texas, Anthony Amador has been credentialed to cover the Houston Texans, Dallas Cowboys, San Antonio Spurs, Dallas Mavericks and high school games all over the Lone Star State. Currently, his primary beats are the NBA, MLB, NFL and UFC.

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