Friday, July 09, 2010

Roundtable discussion: Lebron's Decision 2010

Miami. Who would have thought? The "king" (sorry, Kings win rings) finally taps out of the pressures of leading a team to a ring to join an ensemble cast of stars in bringing rings to South Beach. I questioned 3 people who I am sure would have opinions on this whole matter, so let's see what they said:

1) First thoughts when you heard Lebron's decision?

Clifton Jessup III, Page 3 Blog :

Shock and awe.

I couldn’t believe he did it. He strung his hometown along for two whole months, and ended by divorcing them on national TV. I swore he’d re-sign as a Cav as soon as I heard about “The Decision” (sidebar, to name it “The Decision” and give it a name that joins “The Drive,” “The Shot,” and “The Fumble” in Cleveland sports history was another mercilessly cruel touch to the evening). To see him go the other way was something I couldn’t even believe after I heard him say the words.

Terrell McCoy, P.O.L.R exPRESS blog:

My first thoughts when he uttered the words "South Beach" out of his mouth was "this is UNREAL". I sat there and a sense of numbness overcame my body. Not because I was sad or anything, but I just couldn't believe that a player of his magnitude left. I know Shaq left Orlando for LA, but this is different. 'Bron is a native son of Ohio, the spokesperson for the state. Hell, the Welcome to Akron sign has to have "Home of Lebron James" (in bold letters) right under it. So initially it was shocking to me that he left his HOME, because honestly, it may never be safe for him to walk the streets and live there ever again.

Ebony Hammond, Ebonyisms blog:

I was shocked! I was really surprised that he was actually leaving Cleveland. He was the home town boy. I figured he would want to stick it out and build his own legacy in OH.

Steven L. Page 3

First thought? "He sold out." Then it was disappointment. I wanted to see him win in Cleveland, struggle to climb the mountain and give the city it's first Championship in FIFTY years. That was a story WORTHY of being the greatest player ever. He took the road of less resistance instead of forging his own legacy. Next thought? I have to renew League Pass next season!!

2)Is Miami the best fit for LeBron? Why or why not?

CJ3: Miami is 1a to Chicago’s 1b. Both were perfect fits, with minor detractions. Chicago is set up to possibly become the best defensive team in the league, between Noah, Rose and coach Tom Thibodeaux. They might have some issues with offense as they have the past few seasons, plus Carlos Boozer is there—and would LeBron really be smart to trust that bastard again? I say no.

As for Miami, he gets to play with Wade, which on potential is the most lethal wing combo since Jordan & Pippen in their primes. No team can legitimately hold them both down every night. On top of that, he’s paired with a big man who shoots close to 80% from the free throw line. The pick-and-roll options between Wade/LeBron and Bosh are terrifying.

Of course, Miami’s obvious issue will be finding championship-caliber talent that is willing to sacrifice minutes, income and notoriety to play behind the new ‘Big 3.’ Mike Miller was a great pickup, and if they can grab a discount big man they’ll be in a great position to jockey with other free agents as to their superior position to win the title over the Lakers. And they need that position, because with Kobe & Phil, the Lakers have a lot of pull this offseason to load up with the veteran ring-seeking talent Miami has to have to defeat them.

T.M: Without a doubt. This is a team of superstars like we've never seen before in our lifetime. I've managed to pull it off on 2k, but I never imagined it would happen in real life! And we've seen big names come together but they were WELL past their primes. James, Wade and Bosh are just now entering into their prime (which is scary). This team has the talent, management, and could be adding pieces that could set them up for a serious dynasty. Some people may have a case that Chicago was the right team for James, but this is an opportunity that no one can pass up. Also, the rumor that Chris Paul was apart of "The Beijing Pact" (see Bill Simmons article) and will join them next year makes this team unstoppable. At the end of the day, he made a great choice.

E.H: Only time will tell! This will be the greatest thing that ever happened to a team (in the modern age of basketball) or the biggest flop in all of basketball history. Will these two giant planets plus a moon be able to define their own solar system and create an orbit? Or will they just ultimately participate in massive planetary collision?? I do not know! I hope that they can work it out in Miami to create a super power in the East that will shut down Kobe & friends in the West. Can LeBron break through in Wade County? Will DWade be able to share the spotlight? Will they work together for the love of the Ring? Again, only time will tell.

S.L: I still think Chicago would have allowed him to contend for a ring this year. I love the roster they have and with a PG like Rose and a hard body bruiser and rebounder up front in Boozer and Noah, this team was going to make things ugly for the rest of the League. I wonder exactly how much Michael Jordan's shadow and legacy played into LeBron shying away from signing with Chicago. Miami is the glamorous pick with the 2 other stars, but who else is on their roster? Chicago with their roster RIGHT NOW would get him to the Eastern Conference Finals this season.

3)Prediction for this year's Heat W/L record, as well as what round of the playoffs they make it to?

CJ3: It’s tough to predict right now. They’ve only got 7 players. If this were NBA Live, you wouldn’t even get to call this a team yet! When they’ve got a roster of 12, it’ll be clear what kind of season they will have. Plus, with Wade being the eldest, they do need to make it a priority to find a reasonable talent at shooting guard so that he won’t have to play his aggressive style of basketball over 40 minutes for 82 games. He won’t survive that way. And neither will the Heat.

My uneducated guesses? Their range in a top-heavy East is 48 wins minimum, 66 maximum I’d say. And not making the second round doesn’t seem likely, but I can’t say they’re a lock for the conference finals either.

T.M: Honestly, I have to see the pieces that Pat Riley puts in place. I'm hearing names like Mike Miller, Tracy McGrady, Allen Iverson and Jason Kapono (to name a few). But I say they go 70-12 and make it to the NBA Finals.

E.H: Unless they can gel over the next couple of months to and define rolls that will come natural to the team. I think this first year will be difficult for this new team. However, if they are very determined and it seems as if they are willing to do whatever it takes to make this work, and they have Pat Riley who is a cut throat coach (refer to NY Knicks from the 90s). Im sure David Stern is wetting his pants thinking about a Laker vs Heat Finals going 7 games. It may very well happen.

S.L: These kind of questions are tough, but I say 60 games this year. Also, I have to pick this team to at least get to the second round, possibly the conference Finals. From there, I think they are overachieving this season if they go to the NBA Finals. Again, it really all depends on what magic Riley can work out as far as additions to this team. They need to call PJ Brown right now. Alonzo is still in shape!

4)Does LeBron's legacy take a hit with him leaving his home team to get rings with another? Teaming up with other great players instead of leading a team himself?

CJ3:LeBron’s legacy will be remembered as beginning on July 9, 2010. In my opinion, nothing he has done in the past seven years will weigh positively for him if he fails now, or negatively if he succeeds.

He’s likely seen his last MVP trophy, scoring title, and maybe even compromised his automatic 1st-team All-NBA selection. Those numbers (especially in The Book of Basketball) are used to separate the greats from the greatest historically, and he’s given up that part of his legacy for good. His greatest accomplishments now will come in a totally different capacity, if at all: he is much more likely to average the triple double we’ve been anticipating for seven years; he will most definitely need to be a 1st-team all-defense player if the Heat will win any championships (guarding all-star wings for an entire season); and most importantly, every single year of his career from this moment forward, not winning a championship marks an epic failure on his part.

What was forgivable in years 1-7—LOSING—is unacceptable in years 8 and up. He can no longer blame Mo Williams and the rest of his non All-Star cast, whether the bench and role players suck or not. He left Cleveland in the ugliest way possible, and abandoned more than $25 million dollars, to go to Miami and collect rings while having fun with his best NBA buddies. Well TRUST that there will be no more sideline dancing. Miami is not privileged to have LeBron—they already had Wade, and they already have a ring. He’s now an uber-hyped, overqualified Ron Artest. Wade has the championship pedigree and swagger, and it’s up to LeBron to not screw it up.

The potential greatest player of our generation is now confined to the remote possibility of being outperformed by an psychiatric patient from Queensbridge (which I mean in the kindest possible way?). If he gets rings, he gets what he came for, and history will reward him and his legacy. But he will never be in the discussion as one of the greatest 2, 3, or 5 players in the NBA. His cap is now probably at 10.

And you know what? The way he’s wired, I think he’s ok with that.

T.M:I don't believe it takes a hit by him leaving his home. He simply made a business decision that benefits him. But his legacy definitely takes a hit because he's teaming up with other great players. The fact that he will win a title with another Hall of Famer will hurt, but please believe he will do so by averaging a triple-double.

E.H: Lets face facts. He already missed the boat on being greater than MJ. MJ never lost when the championship was on the line. He has already had many opportunities to carry Cleveland on his back all the way to the championship promise land, and he has failed over and over. He choked plain and simple. He has been in the league 7 years with no championship so right now he is just proved to be really good in the regular season.THIS is his legacy right now. If he accomplishes what he has set out to championships...lots of them, then there is nothing people can say other than that he is a champion. People will continue to hate him, and they will question whether he could have done it alone, and they will continue to compare him to MJ. At the end of the day he still has to perform and be GREAT, depending on what happens between now and retirement will ultimately determine his legacy.

S.L: YES, YES, YES. Mike wouldn't do this. Ditto to Magic, Bird, or even Kobe (though he threatened). As unselfish and Christian as Lebron's choice is to defer from being the Alpha dog, he now becomes a very big, important, SECONDARY piece to the title hopes of the Miami Heat. And that is something I never in a million years would have thought he would do. He has been touted, and has even done so himself that he is a planet unto himself and a franchise player. He also said in 2006 that he wasn't one to chase Rings. So much for that. He is now, as much as people will try to argue it, Dwyane Wade's sidekick. A terrifying and possibly highest talented sidekick in sports history, but a sidekick at that. This is exactly what would have happened if Prime Bo Jackson got traded to the 1995 Detroit Lions and was the secondary back to Barry Sanders. Freak of nature, incredibly gifted, not the first option in the play book. I still wonder if LeBron has it in him to buckle down and demand to defend the other team's best player, rebound and facilitate the offense, and be Scottie Pippen. A couple posts back I lamented the fact that the Scottie Pippen prototype has not been seen since Scottie retired. Lamar Odom is close but can't be in that realm defensively. How ironic that the type of player and help LeBron and Cavs fans pleaded for to come to Cleveland and be LeBron's sidekick is the type of player and help LeBron will himself have to become to get Wade and the Heat more rings! Did he Bamboozle us? Did he not have the Jordan mentality all along? Was he always a gifted second fiddle thrust into the spotlight and a team, city, and region placed on his shoulders? We will soon find out. Sadly, those statements will be vindicated if he plays the Scottie Pippen role and wins more rings.


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T3FLON said...

Good stuff. As to the legacy of LeBron, to me he will always be less than Wade (members of the same draft class). Wade will have more Finals MVPs and more rings than LeBron (assuming they will remain teammates). LeBron is the second fiddle for sure. And maybe that isn't so bad, but he will never be as great as Jordan, Russell, or even Kobe (as much as I hate Kobe, I want him to show his competitive fire and shut down the revamped Heat). LeBron has sealed his fate as an uber talented top 20 player that didn't have the mental tenacity to become top 5.

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