When the Cleveland Cavaliers play against the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals next week for the third season in a row, it's fair to say that both teams probably know the other inside out thanks to the number of times they've played against each other in recent years.
Two people that will relate to that fact are Cavaliers' star LeBron James and Warriors' interim head coach Mike Brown. Brown was the head coach of the Cavaliers during James' first run with the team which ended in 2010.
Speaking of his former player, Brown opened up about facing LeBron in the NBA Finals for the first time, he said things like going up against a former ally happens all the time in basketball as it's part of the game.
He said, according to Fox Sports: “I don’t have any control over what the storyline’s going to be. It’s a little ironic that things happen in life this way. I was just talking to my boys about it, and it’s just one of those things, especially in the NBA, it’s like ‘The Lion King.’ It’s just the circle of life.
"Everything just kind of keeps getting back or revolving back to where it once was.”
As for if there is an advantage for him and the Warriors thanks to his coaching experience with James, Brown said he doesn't know anything more than what the team already knows from film and previous encounters.
“[LeBron’s] been scrutinized from day one, top to bottom, inside-out. I don’t know more about LeBron than what Steve does.
"Obviously, I coached him, so there’s maybe a little bit more that I may know on his personal side about him, but in terms of him as a basketball player, everybody has knowledge of what he can do on the floor. He’s played very well. It seems like every year, his game has gotten better.”
Brown did say LeBron has improved on one part of his game since he coached him at the Cavaliers, and that's his shooting.
“One of the things, and we talked about this, is his shooting. I know I’m really dating myself, but in 2007 when we played San Antonio, every pick-and-roll that LeBron ran - I don’t care if the screens were set 15 feel below where the ball was - they were going under the pick-and-roll.
"He wasn’t as confident in his shot back then. Even in 2013, when San Antonio played them, they were going under the pick-and-roll. You’ve got to be careful going under the pick-and-roll against him now because if you do, he’ll make you pay. Not just one or two threes, he’s liable to run off four or five threes in a row if you disrespect his shooting ability.”