|Friday, June 20
Updated: July 22, 4:14 PM ET
James shows off new shooting stroke in workout
CLEVELAND -- LeBron James passed his final, ahem, audition for the Cleveland Cavaliers.
"We're still taking him No. 1, I'll tell you that,'' general manager Jim Paxson joked after watching James work out for more than 30 minutes Friday.
There was never any doubt.
Under the attentive eye of Paxson, Cleveland coach Paul Silas and a huge media throng, James showcased his awesome skills to the Cavaliers one final time before they select the 18-year-old with the top overall pick in Thursday's NBA draft.
Wearing a gray Cavaliers T-shirt, black shorts and a pair of Nikes (What else?) James shot jumpers, 3-pointers and fine tuned his free-throw shooting on the club's fourth-floor practice court in Gund Arena.
The 6-foot-8 high school star from Akron was admittedly tired from a three-day trip for interviews, TV appearances and parties in New York. But he did everything the Cavaliers asked.
And Silas, who had never seen James play in person, came away impressed.
"I liked everything about his demeanor,'' said Silas, hired earlier this month. "I talked to him about the game. He understands how to play. He shoots the ball. He can handle it, and as we get into this thing, he'll get better and better.''
As James was shooting free throws early in the workout, Silas stopped him in mid-shot and offered some advice. Silas instructed James to take a longer look at the basket before shooting.
James did, and promptly made his next eight attempts. For Silas, it was an important moment.
"I mentioned a few things to him, and he accepted them and did them,'' said Silas, who will experiment with James at point guard during summer league games. "That just shows you he loves the game. He loves to play the game. I sense that from him and that's important. That will go a long way with him integrating himself into the team.''
James and Silas seemed to hit it off well during their brief time together. They laughed at an inside joke, and Silas playfully teased James when he clanged a few jumpers off the rim.
"He's a great guy,'' James said. "I'm still learning about him and he's still learning about me. So once our relationship grows, I think we'll have a great bond.''
Although he may not own a Paul Silas throwback jersey, James knows that his soon-to-be coach was an NBA All-Star who can help make him into one, too.
"Everything he has to say, I'm going to listen to because he's been there,'' said James, who signed a $90 million endorsement deal with Nike last month. "I haven't even stepped out on the court yet. I'm just looking forward to learning a lot more about the game, and a lot more about life.''
James has added some noticeable muscle to his chiseled body since his senior season ended. During the league's pre-draft camp in Chicago, James was measured at 6-7, 245 pounds with just 6.7 percent body fat.
James said he's done some other sculpting -- to his shot.
"I changed it a lot,'' said James, who averaged 31.6 points, 9.6 rebounds, 4.6 assists and 3.4 steals this season. "I was shooting a high school shot and not really going at it. I changed the shot, and a lot more are going in. So, I'm going to stick with it.''
If there is a flaw in James' well-rounded game, it is his outside shooting. But Silas says the former St. Vincent-St. Mary star has the raw tools to improve it.
"Just with the repetition he's going to become a better shooter than he was in high school,'' Silas said. "The mechanics are there to work with.''
As hectic as his life has been the past few weeks, James knows it's only going to get crazier.
Since his high school graduation, he has traveled to Chicago, to Nike's headquarters in Oregon and to New York, where he did an HBO interview, made an appearance on MTV with Magic Johnson and attended a party with rap star Jay-Z and other celebrities.
Next week, it's back to New York for more interviews, meetings and a night he has always dreamed of.
When NBA commissioner David Stern announces, "With the first pick in the NBA draft, the Cleveland Cavaliers select'', the whole world will know what's coming next.
James can't wait.
"Everything is going right,'' he said. "I'm living out a dream right now. I'm accomplishing some of my goals that I wrote down when I was a kid. I wouldn't change none of it.''