No more excuses for Lebron James

For the second year in a row, LeBron James faced minimal scrutiny for his inability to secure a championship. Rather, he has been praised for exceeding expectations and taking his team as far as possible. Most of this praise seems to be customary, considering his deep numbers and lack of assists from his teammates. According to ESPNIn the 2015 Finals, LeBron James averaged an absurd 35.8 points, 8.8 assists and 13.3 rebounds. Such commanding overall numbers would make even the all-time greats in awe. With Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving out due to injury, LeBron amazingly led a Cavaliers team with Timofey Mozgov as the second leading scorer, two wins away against a historically great Golden State team.

As flawless as LeBron James seemed in the Finals, there are facets of his performance that deserve criticism. His incredible scoring numbers didn’t come with incredible efficiency, in fact, he shot a woefully inefficient 39.8% from the floor. Despite being known for his ability to always make the right basketball play, LeBron James had his fair share of poor shots in this series. also as hoops habit notes, Cleveland always played its worst basketball in the fourth quarter. Had they had more impressive fourth quarters, the series could have gone the other way around. Now, all the responsibility for that shouldn’t fall on LeBron James, but he should be responsible as the leader of the team. Ultimately, his main defender, Andre Iguodala, won the Finals MVP.

Similarly, last year, Kawhi Leonard won the Finals MVP award after guarding Lebron for the most possessions in the series. That year, LeBron James and the Heat lost to the Spurs in the Finals by a record 70-point margin. As deadly as those Spurs were, a team made up of LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh and Ray Allen shouldn’t be breaking records for the wrong reasons. However, LeBron James’ average of 28.2 points on 57.1% shooting, according to Basketball-Reference, seems to outweigh his team’s failures. This season, however, LeBron James won’t have the narrative of not having enough help to fall back on, should he fail to bring home that coveted championship for Cleveland.

First of all, barring an unforeseen setback, the Cavaliers should be able to sail to the NBA Finals, as LeBron James apparently has for what seems like forever. In the 2015 playoffs, the Cavaliers, with Kevin Love out and Kyrie Irving limping, only lost two games en route to LeBron James’ fifth straight trip to the Finals. Both players should be relatively healthy this coming season, and coupled with a revamped bench that now consists of Mo Williams and Richard Jefferson, the Cavaliers should be the heavy favorites in the East.

There will always be pundits who will argue that a team like Chicago or Miami has a chance, but it would be irrational to bet against the Cavs. Arguably his biggest competition is a Bulls team he beat with Love and Irving injured. The Heat, while made up of solid options at every position, lack the Cavaliers’ overall talent and rely too heavily on an injury-prone Dwayne Wade. Therefore, LeBron James has no reason not to make his sixth straight Finals appearance.

However, if he fails to get his team to the finals, he will lose another opportunity to improve his status among the all-time greats. He should be scrutinized, as other superstars have been, for not making it to the finals despite having a superior roster. However, this is all hypothetical, and LeBron James will most likely be facing the team that made it out of the brutal Western Conference.

The myriad of title contenders in the Western Conference instigates the perception that any team representing the West in the Finals is vastly superior to its Eastern counterpart. This perception has previously provided LeBron James with wiggle room to escape how he should lose in the Finals. In fact, this perception seems to persist for the next season. Teams like the Spurs, with their talent and depth, seem incapable of losing to an Eastern Conference foe in a seven-game series. Nobody would blink if the Warriors, Clippers or Thunder beat the Cavaliers in the Finals. Even the Rockets would have a fair chance.

In reality, the Cavaliers can realistically beat any of these teams in a series. ace Bleacher Report notes, the Cavaliers went a phenomenal 13-1 record against the Western Conference in the second half last season. They have 3 of the top 20 players in the league in LeBron, Kyrie and Kevin Love. These three players formed the highest scoring trio in the league, by 247 sports. His bench, while unspectacular, is competent enough to give the Cavaliers the depth needed to compete with these Western Conference adversaries. Above all, they have one thing that no other team in the league has: the greatness of LeBron James.

His combination of otherworldly athleticism and elite basketball IQ provides the Cavaliers with all the ingredients they need to win a championship. Despite all of his incredible numbers in both the regular season and the playoffs, to truly challenge Michael Jordan as the GOAT, he must prove that he is capable of revolutionizing a franchise, with a championship. Michael did it with the Bulls, Duncan with the Spurs, Kareem with the Bucks, Bird with the Celtics, and so on. Despite being the unquestioned leader of those Heat champion teams, Dwayne Wade was still the face of the franchise. Now that he has all the pieces, there will be no excuses. It’s time to give Cleveland its first championship in over 50 years.

about author


[email protected]

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *