- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Seen and heard last night at MCI Center:

SCOUTING LEBRON — The gushing over Cleveland’s LeBron James has been, putting it mildly, over the top. There is no way James, the top pick in last summer’s draft, can possibly live up to the hype.

So how do NBA veterans view his game? The thinking among many is that James (16.5 points, 6.5 rebounds, 6.5 assists) is the type of player who looks to pass first, then score. Some of the Wizards see him in the same light.

“He’s the type who’s going to get eight rebounds, eight assists,” Washington’s Gilbert Arenas said. “You have to stop his outlets. When he drives, don’t converge on him. Let him score. If you cut out everybody else, his sources of rejuvenation, that’s how you play him.”

So what about all that hype? Is it too much for an 18-year-old to live up to?

“You are never going to live up to everybody’s expectations; that’s basically impossible,” Arenas said. “But all he has to do is be him. He needs to keep doing what he’s been doing to get the hype. That’s all he can ask of himself. He’ll get into trouble if he starts trying to play a game where he’s trying to do the things that don’t come naturally. He’ll be fine as long as he doesn’t force it.”

FENDER BENDER — Wizards reserve power forward Etan Thomas was rear-ended on the way to the game. He was not injured.

LAETTNER STILL LAME — The Wizards played their third game in a row without injured Christian Laettner (back), and his availability for the road trip is uncertain. Laettner will make the trip, which begins in Denver tomorrow, with the team.

John N. Mitchell

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