A Substitute for War

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Posts Tagged ‘LeBron

Responding to Magic’s Lebron comments and Bill Reiter’s takedown of ESPN ranking Lebron the #1 player in the league

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LeBron James

Image by Keith Allison via Flickr

On the eve of Magic Johnson providing another meaty quote about Lebron’s 2011 Finals, Bill Reiter at foxsportsflorida.com wrote a very good and clear article about the fallacy of still putting James on a pedastal after a frankly embarrasing shrinking act in the playoffs. As Reiter quotes, Magic said to a crowd at the University of Albany:

Veering from his point that it’s better to be remembered for off-court accomplishments, Magic said, “There’s going to always be great players in basketball. There’s going to always be guys who win championships in the NBA — except LeBron.”

Followed by: “Everybody’s always asking, ‘Who is better between Kobe (Bryant) and LeBron?’ I’m like, ‘Are you kidding me? Kobe, five championships; LeBron, zero.'”

Followed by: “Stop trying to compare him to Michael Jordan. Come on, man, six championships for Jordan. You know that Michael averaged over 30 points every playoff series? Don’t try to touch that.”

Reiter responds in part by saying

If only stats mattered, and rising to the moment did not, Joe Montana would not be the greatest quarterback of all time. His winner-take-all intangibles would pale in comparison to someone like Dan Marino.

If this logic held, Wilt Chamberlain would be the Michael Jordan of the NBA. No one ever has, or will, compete with Wilt on the statistical plane. Yet there’s a reason serious basketball people look at Jordan, Magic, Kareem, Russell and a slew of others with a higher level of respect.

That’s why “Mr. October” means something in baseball.

Closing matters. Winning matters. Otherwise it’s all just a glorified version of fantasy sports.

This is so clear — as is the fact LeBron so ferociously undermined his own natural talent with mental weakness and big-game frailty — that stating that fact no longer constitutes dangerous ground for most informed basketball and sports people.

I completley agree with both Magic and Reiter Read the rest of this entry »

Written by jr.

October 23, 2011 at 1:49 pm

The Fall of the Cavaliers

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Great post on Back Picks about how much worse the Cavaliers have gotten without LeBron.  I was actually fixing to make a similar post myself, but now I’ll just keep it brief:

-The Cavs are on pace for the 2nd biggest fall in SRS (team performance based on point differential and strength of schedule) in NBA history.  Here’s a table, with the top 10 falls and the changes involved:

-You cannot simply dismiss this as the Cavs’ tanking for a good draft pick because the rest of the supporting cast is still in place.  Yes poor performance leads to de-motivation which leads to worse performance, but that’s true of every team in history, and still only once has there been a falloff this bad.

-It is utterly unreasonable to expect anyone with a supporting cast this bad to win a championship.  I’m not saying it was impossible, just that it’s an unreasonable expectation.  People still debate about who is and was better between LeBron and Kobe Bryant, and many give Kobe this edge based on championships, but there is simply no way that any supporting cast Kobe’s won a title with could be this bad without him.  Last year for example, the Lakers went 6-3 without Kobe.

Clearly the impact LeBron was having in Cleveland was up there with any in all of history.

-Going back to the Decision, there is a lot you can blame LeBron for, but I’ve maintained that since the Boston series last year, LeBron must have been thinking “my teammates just aren’t that good, we’re not as close as I thought to being the best, and there’s no reason to think we can get much better”.  You combine that with all the criticism LeBron got for being unable to win the big one, and it’s pretty easy to see why he left Cleveland.  It was much less about going to South Beach, and much more about getting out of a situation that he saw as no-win.

Written by Matt Johnson

January 6, 2011 at 3:26 pm