Lebron James is undoubtedly the best player in the entire planet today. He, arguably, might have a claim for that title all-time. But he is having a difficult time convincing analysts and fans bestowing on him full credit on his leading his teams to 11 straight playoffs appearances, seven finals appearances, including the last six consecutive years, and winning three championships in those stints.
The probable reason is his company, the players in the team’s roster, during those playoff runs and the way they were formed.
Lebron was, presumably, at the forefront in the formation of those super teams. It has been surmised that he and his Miami Heat friends, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh, forced their going into one team to form the potent trio.
His return to Cleveland also supposedly carried a condition of forcing the Cleveland management to trade for Kevin Love to complete another trio with resident and rising superstar Kyrie Irving.
These circumstances contributed in the diminished credit he receives for his championships. And rightfully so, I say. Nobody is questioning Lebron’s right to play with other superstars but that should carry with it the burden of shared responsibilities. Playing with other great stars will definitely diminish one’s chance to standout.
Another thing that makes James less desirable for the label of being mentioned at par with other great champions like Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Magic Johnson and Larry Bird is his refusal to take on all challenges as they come with what he has.
James exhibited this by stating publicly his lack of help despite his being the best player in the world and the presence of his super friends in more than one instance during his career. He just did it again recently when he was asking for more help despite the Cavs acquisition of shooter extraordinaire Kyle Korver.
He shows to the world that he seems to be whining for his team to give him more efficient bodies on the floor and seemingly shows having no desire to rely and bring out the best what the team currently has.
I agree with Sir Charles Barkley’s certain comment about this matter. In a recent Inside the NBA TV show commentary, Barkley said James would always want his team to be the favorite. (and sulk whenever they are the underdogs, I may add). He wants it to be Christmas for his team all the time.
He has all the right to select who he can play with. He certainly earned this right. He has all the right to inform management to use their budget to the max to get the best players to play with him. There should be no argument on this. Bringing in some new player to help a team would be understandable and desirable as well.
However, while bringing in other players through trades are nice, trades don’t happen unilaterally. He should know and probably knew that bringing in a player cannot just be done looking at his side of the trade because the other party is also looking to improve their team or making their opponent weaker.
That is how trades should work ideally, a win-win situation. Both teams involved in the trade should benefit from the exchange.
If he wants somebody brought in, that’s fine. He should just go to his team, tell his wishes in private and see if they can get someone. If his team could not bring in anybody because no other team is interested to deal with his team, the he should live with what he has.
It’ll be nice to see Lebron man up and get a championship with a line-up constructed by his team.
The Lebron James I felt in love with was the Lebron James that played in the 2008 Eastern Semifinals and the 2015 Finals. James was fun to watch in these series because he was what he is supposed to be: the Superman of the NBA.
The only drawback in these series was the Cavaliers did not win them. But one thing that was clearly noticeable in those losses was James do not need a major roster overhaul to get by those Celtics or those Warriors.
He battled the Boston foursome of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo during the 2008 playoffs and send the series to seven grueling games although he eventually went on to loss them.
He led the team to win all home games and carried the Cavs on his back when they needed him. Averaging just 21 points in the first four games, he stepped up his game in the last three to try to win at least one at the TD Garden, where the Celtics has yet to loss a playoff game up to that point of that year.
He knocked down 35 points in game four, 32 with a team-high 13 rebounds in games five and canned 45 in the final game. The final game featured a shoot-out with Pierce, who scored 41, that will be remembered for ages as one of the most memorable duels in NBA playoffs annals history.
It was during this series that a confirmation came to fruition, that Boston will have a short reign in the East if they don’t keep on improving their aging roster because “The King” is coming to town. It won’t be long until the Cavs will surround him with the right line-up and they should be eliminating everybody soon.
He had a chance to relive this scenario in the 2015 finals. After the Cavs lost Love to a shoulder injury early in the playoffs and Irving had to depart the finals series due to a game one knee injury, the burden bringing in the statistics for the team is suddenly left to James. And he delivered bigtime!
LBJ produced staggering numbers that even Michael Jordan could not do during his Bulls run. He had two triple doubles, an assist shy to make it three, and just two shy each time to make it five over a six game series.
He practically matched the entire statistical production of four Warriors (Stephen Curry, Andrew Bogut, Shaun Livingston, and David Lee) during this series.
Despite playing only around 56% of the total playing time of Curry and Company, he got off more attempts from the floor and from the line than these four combined. He was only outscored by three, 218 to 215.
Lebron was just outrebounded by a measly six offensive rebounds, 80-86, despite the presence of giants Bogut and Lee and was just 10 assists down, 53-63, despite going up against the entire point guard rotation of the Warriors.
Nobody in recent memory could come up with these numbers in the finals. Not Air Jordan. Not Kobe or Shaq either. Not Tim Duncan. Not even multi-category masters Larry Legend and Magic.
It is very easy to show him love him in series like these. One can clearly see that James needs help and if his team got him one, his team would win the series.
The same could not be said during his championship stints. One can clearly see that he is the best player on his team but included in the rest of the crew are personalities that can, by themselves, have the capability of leading the team to the championships. It is easier to credit the entire crew than him alone during those championship runs.
James has showed in the past glimpses of how he can carry his team on his back when needed. It just did not result to a championship. Yet. That is what is holding back many to bestow upon him the title of a king.
James proclaimed himself as the King. The king of a group should be their leader of his team in the battlefield and not just one of the many ground commanders of the troops. James was not clearly that during those championship runs because he was just one of three competent guys.
Ironically, James might be what he is claiming to be: The King. The king of a government full of brilliant generals and officers. He is a CEO of company who is blessed with bright and intelligent managers.
He did not do most of the work because a lot has been already done by others for the team. Can he do it without his “generals or managers”?
He showed he can. Would it have resulted successfully remains to be seen. All three crowns he now wore arose due to partnerships with partners that equally deserved the king title, not sole proprietorships.
BY: ARMANDO M. BOLISLIS.