At the time, James was coming off four straight trips to the NBA Finals with the Miami Heat—having won two rings—and looking to fulfill a promise to deliver a title to Cleveland, though some of the lessons he tried to teach may not have made sense in the moment.
Now, half a decade later, Waiters and James have reunited with the Los Angeles Lakers. Once again they're in the hunt for an NBA championship, with some notable differences. Waiters explained what's changed to reporters Saturday:
The Lakers added the shooting guard March 6, only days before the NBA went on hiatus because of the coronavirus pandemic. It hardly gave him enough time to adjust to being with a new team. A few extra training sessions before the league restarts in Orlando, Florida, next week, however, have helped make up for that.
Waiters isn't the only one to notice a change in James' approach.
Another member of the Cavs during James' second stint in Cleveland, JR Smith, recently remarked how much more relaxed LeBron is on the court, and how it helps improve the players around him.
"More than anything I just think he's so much more patient in his delivery and how he goes about the process of the game," Smith said, per Spectrum Sports' Mike Trudell. "The pressure is off his shoulders, he can just be him."
Los Angeles enters the restart as one of the favorites to win the NBA title.
If it works out, it'll be in part because of the growth and development James has helped foster not just in L.A., but going back to Cleveland as well.